Fermentation Virtual Lab
Time to complete course: 35 min.
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About the Fermentation Virtual Simulation Lab
Fermentation technology can be used to produce valuable biological compounds in large quantities. For instance, most antibiotics are produced using fermentation technology. Desired compounds used in most antibiotics are produced in large tanks, in which fungi grows. To ensure quality production, fungi are grown under specific conditions to promote production of the desired compound.
Learn about fermentation
Fermentation can be used to produce pharmaceuticals, bioethanol, biochemicals, enzymes and many other products. Ensuring that cells have optimal conditions for production is not a trivial task. Many theories, mathematical models, and advanced laboratory and production equipment have been developed to allow and increase production. In this lab, you will set up fermentation of a second-generation bioethanol production plant that converts waste into bioethanol. Your task is to make a pilot scale experiment and develop a process for efficient bioethanol production.
Yeast inoculum and aseptic technique
Your first task is to prepare a yeast inoculum using the aseptic technique. You can practice the aseptic technique by using the Bunsen burner and making sure the media has been autoclaved in order to minimize risk of contamination. Once you have acquired a pure yeast inoculum, you can analyze a small sample under microscope observation. After that, you can perform the first fermentation.
Mathematical simulation and data analysis
Using mathematical simulation, you can change various fermentation parameters. This includes temperature, pH, stirring power, and selection between air and nitrogen. A graph will be plotted based on the selected parameters. Furthermore, a spreadsheet containing time, biomass, glucose, ethanol, oxygen and carbon dioxide amounts reflecting the specific parameters is shown. Your next task is then to analyze the output data and create a plot that shows the optimum temperature and pH for producing bioethanol. A short guide on how to use Excel is provided by clicking the “View Theory” button.
Calculate and compare
Using the downloaded data, you can perform calculations of the many outcomes including the specific growth rate of the different phases, doubling time and yield coefficient. A comparison between fermentation that is performed using 21% oxygen or no oxygen (in this case 100% nitrogen) is also done. Once you have completed the fermentation lab, you will have a deeper understanding of the production of bioethanol, common lab procedure, experiment design and analysis and organization of output data.
Will you be able to see how different parameters affect the rate of fermentation?
Dr. Jette Thykær
Department of Systems Biology
Technical University of Denmark
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