Fermentation methods for dextransucrase production
Several fermentation methods for the production of the enzyme dextransucrase have been employed. The theoretical aspects of these fermentation techniques have been given in the early chapters of this thesis together with a brief overview of enzyme biotechnology. A literature survey on cell recycle fermentation has been carried out followed by a survey report on dextransucrase production, purification and the reaction mechanism of dextran biosynthesis. The various experimental apparatus as employed in this research are described in detail. In particular, emphasis has been given to the development of continuous cell recycle fermenters. On the laboratory scale, fed-batch fermentations under anaerobic low agitation conditions resulted in dextransucrase activities of about 450 DSU/cm3 which are much higher than the yields reported in the literature and obtained under aerobic conditions. In conventional continuous culture the dilution rate was varied in the range between 0.375 h-1 to 0.55 h-1. The general pattern observed from the data obtained was that the enzyme activity decreased with increase in dilution rate. In these experiments the maximum value of enzyme activity was 74 DSU/cm^3. Sparging the fermentation broth with CO_2 in continuous culture appears to result in a decrease in enzyme activity. In continuous total cell recycle fermentations high steady state biomass levels were achieved but the enzyme activity was low, in the range 4 - 27 DSU/cm^3. This fermentation environment affected the physiology of the microorganism. The behaviour of the cell recycle system employed in this work together with its performance and the factors that affected it are discussed in the relevant chapters. By retaining the whole broth leaving a continuous fermenter for between 1.5 - 4 h under controlled conditions, the enzyme activity was enhanced with a certain treatment from 86 DSU/cm^3 to 180 DSU/cm^3 which represents a 106% increase over the enzyme activity achieved by a steady-state conventional chemostat. A novel process for dextran production has been proposed based on the findings of this latter part of the experimental work.