Sher treatment of starter culture medium improves separation behavior of Streptococcus thermophilus cells
Jaros, D., Mende, S., Häffele, F., Nachtigall, C., Nirschl H., Rohm H.
Engineering in Life Science, 2018, 18, 62 - 69
A central step in the production of starter cultures is the separation of the cells from the fermentation medium, which is usually achieved by disk centrifuges. In case of microorganisms which produce exopolysaccharides (e.g., various strains of lactic acid bacteria), the properties of the respective exopolysaccharides may interfere with this separation step. By using six strains of Streptococcus thermophilus the hypothesis was tested that a shear treatment of the fermented culture medium improves subsequent cell separation markedly. Depending on the type of exopolysaccharides (freely present in the medium, or as capsules around the cells) an energy input of up to 2.5 kJ/mL generated with an Ultra‐Turrax affected cell chain length of the strains and viscosity of fermentation medium differently. For bacteria producing capsular exopolysaccharides, space‐ and time‐resolved centrifugation experiments revealed an increase of sedimentation velocity after shear treatment. In general, viability of the microorganisms, detected by flow cytometry measurements and fermentation experiments, was not affected by the shearing procedure. The results therefore indicate that strain‐targeted shearing is helpful to improve the separability of cells from the fermented media.