alexa The immobilization of whole cells: Engineering principles
Microbiology

Microbiology

Fermentation Technology

Author(s): Steven F Karel

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The immobilization of whole cells involves the retention of catalytically active cells within a restricted region of a bioreactor. Techniques which have been used to immobilize whole cells include adsorption, aggregation, confinement and entrapment. These techniques can be applied to essentially all of the viable or non-viable whole cell systems of potential interest: microorganisms, animal and plant cells. The fact that immobilized cells may be living leads to unique effects in this form of heterogeneous catalysis. These include the impact of immobilization on cell physiology and cell mobility, physical interactions of immobilized cells with the support, and the creation of a microenvironment. The theory of mass-transfer and reaction in these types of systems is well understood, but schemes capable of predicting substrate and product diffusivities and the intrinsic kinetics in the aggregate must still be developed. New experimental approaches are being used to elucidate the basic mechanisms that determine these physical and metabolic properties of immobilized cells. Several reactor configurations have been successfully used with immobilized cells, and many more have been proposed. The choice of a particular design for a given process depends on the requirements for mass-transfer, the growth behaviour of the cells, and the structural properties of the aggregate.

This article was published in Chemical Engineering Science and referenced in Fermentation Technology

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