Fermentation studies on Clostridium acetabutylicum

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The initial aim of this work was to develop a laboratory system for the study of the ABE fermentation under laboratory conditions. The development of defined and simple laboratory inoculation and build-up procedures for the ABE process was investigated. A defined spore preparation in distilled water gave solvent yields comparable to the yields obtained in the commercial ABE process. A laboratory inoculation procedure was developed which avoided the lengthy culture build-up procedures presently utilised. An investigation into solvent production by Clostridium acetobutylicum in clostridial basal medium (CBM) , reinforced clostridial medium (RCM) , Leung and Robson media was undertaken with the aim of developing a partially defined laboratory medium which produced solvent yields comparable to the molasses fermentation medium (MFM). The solvent yields obtained in the partially defined laboratory media were substantially lower than those obtained in MFM. It became apparent that the initial aim of trying to identify and manipulate a few key factors to give better solvent yields would not be easily attained. Both the solvent levels and the overall pattern of cell development were markedly different in the various laboratory systems. In view of these differences, a more detailed investigation of the growth patterns, morphological and physiological changes were undertaken.

Bibliography: pages 147-162.