Batch and continuous fermentation methods for the production of dextransucrase
The available literature concerning dextransucrase and dextran production and purification has been reviewed along with the reaction mechanisms of the enzyme. A discussion of basic fermentation theory is included, together with a brief description of bioreactor hydrodynamics and general biotechnology. The various fermenters used in this research work are described in detail, along with the various experimental techniques employed. The micro-organism Leuconostoc mesenteroides NRRL B512 (F) secretes dextransucrase in the presence of an inducer, sucrose, this being the only known inducer of the enzyme. Dextransucrase is a growth related product and a series of fed-batchfermentations have been carried out to extend the exponential growth phase of the organism. These experiments were carried out in a number of different sized vessels, ranging in size from 2.5 to 1,000 litres. Using a 16 litre vessel, dextransucrase activities in excess of 450 DSU/cm3 (21.67 U/cm3) have been obtained under non-aerated conditions. It has also been possible to achieve 442 DSU/cm3 (21.28 U/cm3) using the 1,000 litre vessel, although this has not been done consistently. A 1 litre and a 2.5 litre vessel were used for the continuous fermentations of dextransucrase. The 2.5 litre vessel was a very sophisticated MBR MiniBioreactor and was used for the majority of continuous fermentations carried out. An enzyme activity of approximately 108 DSU/cm3/h (5.20 U/cm3/h) was achieved at a dilution rate of 0.50 h-1, which corresponds to the maximum growth rate of the cells under the process conditions. A number of continuous fermentations were operated for prolonged periods of time, with experimental run-times of up to 389 h being recorded without any incidence of contamination. The phenomenon of enzyme enhancement on hold-up of up to 100% was also noted during these fermentations, with dextransucrase of activity 89.7 DSU/cm3/h (4.32 U/cm3/h) being boosted to 155.7 DSU/cm3 (7.50 U/cm3) following 24 hours of hold-up. These findings support the recommendation of a second reactor being placed in series with the existing vessel.