Combined bioreaction and separation in a simulated counter-current chromatographic bioreactor-separator system
The objective of this work has been to investigate the principle of combined bioreaction and separation in a simulated counter-current chromatographic bioreactor-separator system (SCCR-S). The SCCR-S system consisted of twelve 5.4cm i.d x 75cm long columns packed with calcium charged cross-linked polystyrene resin. Three bioreactions, namely the saccharification of modified starch to maltose and dextrin using the enzyme maltogenase, the hydrolysis of lactose to galactose and glucose in the presence of the enzyme lactase and the biosynthesis of dextran from sucrose using the enzyme dextransucrase. Combined bioreaction and separation has been successfully carried out in the SCCR-S system for the saccharification of modified starch to maltose and dextrin. The effects of the operating parameters (switch time, eluent flowrate, feed concentration and enzyme activity) on the performance of the SCCR-S system were investigated. By using an eluent of dilute enzyme solution, starch conversions of up to 60% were achieved using lower amounts of enzyme than the theoretical amount required by a conventional bioreactor to produce the same amount of maltose over the same time period. Comparing the SCCR-S system to a continuous annular chromatograph (CRAC) for the saccharification of modified starch showed that the SCCR-S system required only 34.6-47.3% of the amount of enzyme required by the CRAC. The SCCR-S system was operated in the batch and continuous modes as a bioreactor-separator for the hydrolysis of lactose to galactose and glucose. By operating the system in the continuous mode, the operating parameters were further investigated. During these experiments the eluent was deionised water and the enzyme was introduced into the system through the same port as the feed. The galactose produced was retarded and moved with the stationary phase to be purge as the galactose rich product (GalRP) while the glucose moved with the mobile phase and was collected as the glucose rich product (GRP). By operating at up to 30%w/v lactose feed concentrations, complete conversions were achieved using only 48% of the theoretical amount of enzyme required by a conventional bioreactor to hydrolyse the same amount of glucose over the same time period.