[en] Yeast is a widely used microorganism at the industrial level because of its biomass and metabolite production capabilities. However, due to its sensitivity to the glucose effect, problems occur during scale-up to the industrial scale. Hydrodynamic conditions are not ideal in large-scale bioreactors, and glucose concentration gradients can arise when these bioreactors are operating in fed-batch mode. We have studied the effects of such gradients in a scale-down reactor, which consists of a mixed part linked to a non-mixed part by a recirculation pump, in order to mimic the hydrodynamic conditions encountered at the large scale. During the fermentation tests in the scale-down reactor, there was a drop in both biomass yield (ratio between the biomass produced and the glucose added) and trehalose production and an increase in both fermentation time (time between inoculation and beginning of stationary phase) and ethanol production. We have developed a stochastic model which explains these effects as the result of an induction process determined mainly by the hydrodynamic conditions. The concentration profiles experienced by the microorganisms during the scale-down tests were expressed and linked to the biomass yields of the scale-down tests.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS