Life and Medical Sciences
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
In this investigation, a method for the accurate quantitative determination of net proton production or consumption in biological cultures has been devised. Cells are cultured under constant pH conditions. The specific rate of proton production or consumption by the culture (qH+, mmol h-1 per g biomass) is proportional to the mmol of base or acid required to maintain constant pH per unit time, and this equivalence is independent of the buffering capacity of the culture medium.The above method has been applied to chemostat cultures of Candida utilis growing on glucose or glycerol as carbon source, and different nitrogen sources. The results indicate that the nitrogen assimilation pathway alone determines the value of qH+, and a fixed stoichiometric relationship between nitrogen uptake rate qN (meq h-1 per g biomass) and qH+ has been found for each nitrogen source employed. Thus, qH+/qN values of +1, 0 and - 1 were found for ammonium ions, urea and nitrate respectively. Under oxidative metabolism, the contribution of carbon catabolism to the value of qH+ was undetectable.Since qN may be related to growth and production of type 1 compounds in fermentation processes, the parameter qH+ was incorporated into a model of growth and energy metabolism in chemostat culture (Castrillo and Ugalde, Yeast 10, 185-197, 1994), resulting in adequate simulations of experimentally observed culture performance. Thus, it is suggested that qH+ may be employed as a simple and effective control parameter for biotechnological processes involving biomass-related products.
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