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Enhancement of oxygen mass transfer in stirred bioreactors using oxygen-vectors. 1. Simulated fermentation broths

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Oxygen mass transfer represents the most important parameter involved in the design and operation of mixing-sparging equipment for bioreactors. It can be described and analyzed by means of the mass transfer coefficient, k L a. The k L a values are affected by many factors such as geometrical and operational characteristics of the vessels, media composition, type, concentration and microorganism morphology, and biocatalysts properties. The efficiency of oxygen transfer could be enhanced by adding oxygen-vectors in broths, such as hydrocarbons or fluorocarbons, without increasing the energy consumption for mixing or aeration. The experimental results obtained for simulated broths indicated a considerable increase of k L a in the presence of n-dodecane, and the existence of a certain value of n-dodecane concentration that corresponds to a maximum mass transfer rate of oxygen. The magnitude of the positive effect of n-dodecane depends both on the broths’ characteristics and operational conditions of the bioreactor.

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d :

stirrer diameter, mm


oxygen electrode diameter, mm

D :

bioreactor diameter, mm

h :

distance from the inferior stirrer to the bioreactor bottom, mm

H :

bioreactor height, mm

k L a :

oxygen mass transfer coefficient, s-1

l :

impeller blade length, mm

I’ :

oxygen electrode immersed length, mm

P :

power consumption for mixing of non-aerated broths, W

P a :

power consumption for mixing of aerated broths, W

(P a/V):

specific power input, W/m3

s :

baffle width, mm

v S :

superficial air velocity, m/s

V :

volume of medium, m3

w :

impeller blade height, mm

φ :

volumetric fraction of oxygen-vector

η a :

apparent viscosity, Pa*s

ρ :

density, kg/m3


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Correspondence to Dan Cascaval.

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Galaction, A., Cascaval, D., Oniscu, C. et al. Enhancement of oxygen mass transfer in stirred bioreactors using oxygen-vectors. 1. Simulated fermentation broths. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 26, 231–238 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-004-0353-5

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  • stirred bioreactor
  • oxygen-vector
  • k L a
  • simulated broths