Biosynthesis and separation of dextran fructose mixtures in a chromatographic reactor
A literature review of work carried out on batch and continuous chromatographic biochemical reactor-separators has been made. The major part of this work has involved the development of a batch chromatographic reactor-separator for the production of dextran and fructose by the enzymatic action of the enzyme dextransucrase on sucrose. In this reactor, simultaneous reaction and separation occurs thus reducing downstream processing and isolation of products as compared to the existing industrial process. The chromatographic reactor consisted of a glass column packed with a stationary phase consisting of cross linked polysytrene resin in the calcium form. The mobile phase consisted of diluted dextransucrase in deionised water. Initial experiments were carried out on a reactor separtor which had an internal diameter of 0.97cm and length of 1.5m. To study the effect of scale up the reactor diameter was doubled to 1.94cm and length increased to 1.75m. The results have shown that the chromatographic reactor uses more enzyme than a conventional batch reactor for a given conversion of sucrose and that an increase in void volume results in higher conversions of sucrose. A comparison of the molecular weight distribution of dextran produced by the chromatographic reactor was made with that from a conventional batch reactor. The results have shown that the chromatographic reactor produces 30% more dextran of molecular weight greater than 150,000 daltons at 20% w/v sucrose concentration than conventional reactors. This is because some of the fructose molecules are prevented as acting as acceptors in the chromatographic reactor due to their removal from the reaction zone. In the conventional reactor this is not possible and therefore a greater proportion of low molecular weight dextran is produced which does not have much clinical use. A theoretical model was developed to describe the behaviour of the reactor separator and this model was simulated using a computer. The simulation predictions showed good agreement with experimental results at high eluent flowrates and low conversions.