Fermentation

In fermentation, an amino acid-producing bacterium is cultured in a medium that contains sugars and ammonium compounds as carbon and nitrogen sources under aerobic conditions with aeration and agitation. Other growth factors are also added if required. Three groups of bacteria are used in the industrial production of amino acids: (1) Brevibacterium sp., the glutamic acid bacteria; (2) enteric bacteria, Escherichia coli; and (3) Bacillus spp. (37).

The optimal culture condition depends on the nature of the bacteria used and on culture conditions medium composition, temperature, pH, agitation, and aeration.

Mechanism of Production. The metabolic pathway used to produce amino acids is regulated by key enzyme regulatory mechanisms, feedback inhibition by the end product, and repression. In wild-type bacteria, these mechanisms prevent the overproduction of amino acids. A permeability barrier prevents the excretion of amino acids outside the cell wall.

The overproduction of amino acids is achieved by changing the bacterial nature through mutation to release these metabolic regulators and by selecting optimal culture conditions.

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