Scale-up of microbubble dispersion generator for aerobic fermentation

P. Hensirisak, P. Parasukulsatid, F. A. Agblevor, J. S. Cundiff, W. H. Velander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A laboratory-scale microbubble dispersion (MBD) generator was shown to improve oxygen transfer to aerobic microorganisms when coupled to the conventional air-sparger. However, the process was not demonstrated on a large scale to prove its practical application. We investigated the scale-up of a spinning-disk MBD generator for the aerobic fermentation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast). A 1-L spinning-disk MBD generator was used to supply air for 1- and 50-L working volume fermentation of baker's yeast. For the two levels investigated, the MBD generator maintained an adequate supply of surfactant-stabilized air microbubbles to the microorganisms at a relatively low agitation rate (150 rpm). There was a significant improvement in oxygen transfer to the microorganism relative to the conventional sparger. The volumetric mass transfer coefficient, kLa, for the MBD system at 150 rpm was 765 h-1 compared to 937 h-1 for the conventional sparger at 500 rpm. It is plausible to surmise that fermentation using larger working volumes may further improve the kLa values and the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels because of longer hold-up times and, consequently, improve cell growth. There was no statistically significant difference between the cell mass yield on substrate (0.43 g/g) under the MBD regime at an agitation rate of 150 rpm and that achieved for the conventional air-sparged system (0.53 g/g) at an agitation rate of 500 rpm. The total power consumption per unit volume of broth in the 50-L conventional air-sparged system was threefold that for the MBD unit for a similar product yield. Practical application of the MBD technology can be expected to reduce power consumption and therefore operating costs for aerobic fermentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-227
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aeration
  • Fermentation
  • Microbubble
  • Power consumption
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology


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