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Exceptional high growth rates of Corynebacterium glutamicum when cultivated in highly diluted environments

In a joint study, several research groups of the IBG-1: Biotechnology compared the maximum growth rates of the industrially applied microorganism Corynebacterium glutamicum using different cultivation methods and volumes ranging from picoliter to liter scale. In direct comparison to well plates, shake flasks and bioreactors, it appeared that cells exhibited up to 50% higher growth rates when cultivated in an in-house developed microfluidic chip device. The maximum growth rate is one of the most important parameters for industrial production processes utilizing microorganisms. On the one hand this directly relates to all processes, which are known to work well in a growth-coupled manner, for example, the production of amino and organic acids as well as recombinant proteins. On the other hand it is also of great interest for all processes where the growth and production phase is decoupled and hence fast generation of high cell densities have a high impact on the overall economic feasibility of a certain production process. The results prove that higher growth rates of C. glutamicum than known from typical batch cultivations are possible, and that growth is impaired by very low concentrations of by-products such as acetate.

The paper has recently been published at Biotechnology and Bioengineering and is available online:

Graphic of a chip