Systems operating under conditions of restricted moisture can be referred to as solid-state fermentations. A solid-state fermentation includes the growth of microorganisms, both fungi and bacteria, on a moist solid. In contrast to the slurry systems, solid-state systems operate with:
• limited pretreatment
• restricted energy input (no intense multiphase mixing)
• a limited amount of unit operations (the solids remain as a 'solid phase')
In a solid-state fermenter, process conditions are maintained by controlling the temperature, humidity, and aeration. In contrast to slurry systems, a compact, moist, solid phase dominates the reactor physics. Because handling the moist mass is tedious, solid-state fermentation typically takes place as a batch operation. Continuous operation depends on the possibility of practical and smooth loading and unloading procedures.
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