All there is to know about a fermenter
A fermenter is one of the most complicated types of bioreactors. It helps create a controlled environment for different strains of microorganisms, and in some cases, even for a vast number of them at the same time. Most often, those microorganisms are called fermented microorganisms. There is also a possibility to grow different types of viruses in those devices. Usually, those devices contain various details, but the primary ones are the metallic tank, the heating element, the nutrient substratum, and the bacteria (viruses) itself. There is an excellent probability of significant complications while using a fermenter, so it is vital to fulfill all the safety rules indicated in the instruction to the following tool.
A little bit of history of a fermenter
Humanity has used the process of fermentation since ancient times. Almost every culture had at least one traditional drink or meal prepared using this technology. Nearly every culture used natural methods that did not require any additional instruments, and in some cases, even other precursors. For example, some American Indian tribes have a traditional alcoholic drink (something like weak beer) made of cactuses formed as a result of the sugar transformation to alcohol.
Usually, old civilizations did not understand quite right what they were doing. They had no idea why they got alcohol from a bunch of rotten fruits or vegetables. The understanding and the modern interpretation of the fermentation process came from the works of Louis Pasteur, the French chemist. He was the first scientist who demonstrated in his experiment that fermented drinks are the result of the transformation of the glucose into ethanol.
The first-ever created fermenter was produced many centuries ago and generally looked like a simple box or barrel where the raw material was stocked. Many years of improvements passed, and humanity started to create these devices made of metal with a possibility to improve the speed of the reaction with the use of a catalyzation agent, different chemical agents, heat, and various ferments.
Indications to use a fermenter
A fermenter is an essential tool for various fields of chemical and food development. For example, they use it during the creation of beer, wine, tobacco, and many other products. In medicine, it usually applies to the production of various medications and sometimes in different diagnostic procedures. There are lots of different bacteria and viruses, which can be grown inside those machines. For example:
- Escherichia coli
- Aspergillus fumigatus
- Rhodosporidiobolus fluvialis
- Bacillus subtilis
- Gluconobacter japonicus
- Laminaria hyperborea
- Hansenula polymorpha
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- And many others
After picking up any type of material from a patient (a piece of the mucous membrane, washes from the mucous membrane, and so on), these materials are usually placed in the fermenter. Then the growth process begins, which generally takes from 24 hours to up to 1 week. After the time has passed, the laboratory worker starts to examine the nutrient environment for any pathological agents' signs. After determining the exact pathological agent, they perform a test for antibiotic resistance and pick up the best possible way of treatment.
There are also a number of these devices used in pharmacology in producing some medicines. The microorganisms that are usually grown inside those apparatuses are genetically modified. For example, those bacteria can be intensively particular synthetase of insulin, or for example, be useful for humans' health by stimulating different processes inside individual organisms. As a result, those bacteria production is on an industrial scale, and they sell in specialized pharmaceutical departments.
Complications of the use of a fermenter
The most dangerous complication that may occur during the use of the fermenter is a biohazard emergency. This may happen for numerous reasons, e.g., the violations of the safety engineering, malfunction of the device, different problems with the supplies, and many others. The aftermath of such emergencies can vary significantly due to a contained raw material and bacteria or viruses, the extent of the leak, and many other parameters.
The second group of complications usually occurs during the usage of the medicines obtained with the help of this apparatus. Typically, it happens with patients who had problems with the immune system of the organism. Those are extremely dangerous for patients with HIV or that are immunodeficient or with any other etiology. Their resistant system elements are not strong enough to suppress the harmful effects of the new bacterial invasion, and the beneficial impact destroyed by negative influences.
The overall number of different fermenter models available on the market is enormously huge, so it was pretty hard to pick out the most common specifications. We analyzed the whole variety of products and picked ten of the most general specifications for this apparatus. And here is what we got:
- pO2 control - oxygen sensor, Clark type or any other
- Power - 90 - 240 V, 50 - 60 Hz, 400 W
- Fermenter vessel - made of Pyrex glass, each has at least five side necks
- Temperature control regulation - scalable; from 5° up to 70°
- Working relative humidity - 0 – 90>#/p###
- pH control resolutions - not less than 0.01 pH per Unit
- Airflow - from 0 up to 5 l per minute with at least 0.01 steps
- Agitation - vibromixer with at least 40 W / 20 Hz power
- Pumps - not less than one, and up to four independent pumps
- Working temperature - from 0° up to 40°
If you are interested in obtaining more information about different materials, specs of the working process, speed of the fermentation, and other parameters, you should check up the ISO for these devices. Also, each product made during fermentation has its ISO as well. Different countries may have different ISO, as they usually have varying kinds of mains energy supply. Also, ISO contains information that can help you pick up the most suitable product for your purposes and a full stack of info to begin manufacturing.
As an overall number of different models of fermenters selling worldwide are pretty huge, it is pretty understandable that the total quantity of the manufacturers is also enormously big. For our market leaders, we chose to list only those creators that produce exceptional quality devices and sell them for a fair price. As a result, we get the following list:
- Tekyard LLC
- Galaxy Medical LLC
- Alpha Equipment LLC
- North Mountain Supply
- Ss BrewTech
- Blichmann Cornical™
- Fast Ferment
- Fermentasaurus Conical
- Craft a Brew Catalyst
- BrewDemon Clear
Also, there are a vast number of different non-laboratory types of fermenters. Their use is usually for the production of different kinds of homemade drinks and meals. They are generally not suitable for laboratory usage, but in some cases, they may fit. Everything depends on your needs and the volumes of the product that you need to obtain.
A fermenter is a vital device that can be used both for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Its use is pretty often during the production of homemade meals and drinks. However, medical usage is much more critical and complicated. With the help of a fermenter, different types of medicines are obtainable, and various kinds of bacteria and viruses can be grown. The fermenter still has a lot of unused and unrevealed potential, and they can give more benefits to the whole humankind. It's essential to provide resources and time for scientists and doctors to expand on all the possible ways of using a fermenter.