22 Key Difference between Batch Fermentation and Continuous Fermentation

What is the difference between batch fermentation and continuous fermentation?

Fermentation is the process of breaking down chemical components under anaerobic conditions by bacteria, fungi, and yeast. The conversion of organic molecules into gases, acids, and other metabolites is quite vital in the microorganism.

The core difference between batch fermentation and continuous fermentation is that batch fermentation is done one after the other while continuous fermentation is never stopped but run throughout for a longer period.

Difference between Batch Fermentation and Continuous Fermentation

What is Batch Fermentation?

Batch fermentation is an industrial fermentation where products are produced and harvested in batches. The process tends to end after the production of each batch.

The process is quite easy to set up and run. The fermenter needs to be washed before the subsequent step of fermentation is taken place.

The environmental conditions are never kept constant and the nutrients are utilized at a slower rate. It is suitable for the production of biomass of Single Cell Proteins.

What is Continuous Fermentation?

Continuous fermentation is a type of industrial fermentation where the fermentation process is carried out for a longer period while adding nutrients between production and harvesting.

The fermentation process is suitable for the production of primary metabolites of the microorganisms since it is carried out in a small fermenter.

The exponential growth of microbes is maintained by providing nutrients and changes in the conditions. The process is suitable for reducing costs and increasing yields.

Comparison Table: Batch Fermentation vs Continuous Fermentation

Basic Terms Batch Fermentation Continuous Fermentation
TypeClosed systemOpen system
Set upCannot be changed from outside once fermentation  has startedCan be changed from outside during fermentation process
InterruptionTend to stop once the products are formedThe process cannot be stopped for the collection of products instead it runs throughout
Addition of NutrientsHappen only at the beginning of the processTend to be added between the production and harvesting
ControlLess control on growth of microbes and production of desired productsTotal control of growth and production
Environmental conditionsNot constantTend to be kept constant
NutrientsThe fermenter is utilized in a comparatively slow rateThe fermenter is utilized in a comparatively faster rate
Behavior of MicrobesShow lag, log and stationary phasesThe exponential growth of microbes is maintained
Content of fermenterRemoved after fermentation for isolation of producesProducts are extracted from the overflow of fermenter but not removed
Washing and cleaningThe fermenter is washed and cleaned before the next processNo cleaning and washing since the process is continuous
Size of fermenterRelatively largerRelatively smaller
NatureLess close to the natural environmentQuite close to the natural environment
ApplicationWidely in industrial fermentationLimited in industrial fermentation
SuitabilityProduction of secondary metabolitesProduction of primary metabolites
SignificanceLarge scale production of biomass and productsLess commonly used in large scale production of biomass and products
Ease of Set-UpQuite easy to set up and runTend to be sophisticated to set up
CostThe less initial investment requiredQuite expensive investment to set up initially
LaborLessQuite  more
ContaminationLessMore
Control methodsEasy to controlMore complicated

Core Differences between Batch and Continuous Fermentation In Point Form

  1. Batch fermentation is a closed system while continuous fermentation is an open system
  2. Batch fermentation set up is not changed from outside once fermentation starts while continuous fermentation setup is changed from outside during fermentation process
  3. Batch fermentation process stops once the product is formed while continuous fermentation tend not to stop for the collection of products
  4. Batch fermentation nutrients are added at the beginning of the process while continuous fermentation nutrients are added many times
  5. Batch fermentation has less control over the growth of the microbes and productions of desired products while continuous fermentation has more control on growth and production
  6. The environmental conditions in batch fermentation are not constant while in continuous fermentation are kept constant
  7. The turnover rate in batch fermentation is less while in continuous fermentation is more
  8. The nutrients in batch fermentation are utilized relatively at a slower rate while in continuous fermentation at a faster rate
  9. Content of fermenter in batch fermentation are removed for isolation of products while in continuous fermentation products are extracted from the overflow of the fermenter
  10. In batch fermentation, the fermenter is cleaned and washed before the next production while in continuous fermentation no washing since the process runs throughout
  11. The fermenter used in batch fermentation is comparatively large while in continuous fermentation is comparatively small
  12. Batch fermentation is less closed to the natural environment while continuous fermentation is more closed to the natural environment
  13. Batch fermentation is widely used in industrial fermentation while continuous fermentation is less used in industrial fermentation
  14. Batch fermentation is suitable for the production of secondary metabolites while continuous fermentation for primary metabolites
  15. Batch fermentation is common during large scale production of cell biomass and products while continuous fermentation common for small scale
  16. Batch fermentation is easy to set up and run while continuous fermentation is difficult to set up and run
  17. Batch fermentation is less suitable for the production of biomass such as single-cell protein while continuous fermentation is highly suitable for the production of SCP
  18. Continuous fermentation requires a lot of labor while batch fermentation require less labor
  19. Batch fermentation is less prone to contamination while continuous fermentation are prone to contamination
  20. Batch fermentation is easy to set up and quick to control while continuous fermentation is more complicated to control
  21. Batch fermentation require less initial investment while continuous fermentation requires a more initial investment
  22. Microbes in batch fermentation show lag, log, and stationary phases while in continuous fermentation show an exponential growth rate

Similarities between Batch Fermentation and Continuous Fermentation

  1. Both use in industrial fermentation for large scale production
  2. Both are used in microbial production of biomass or products
  3. Both operate under controlled environment
  4. Both have similar mechanical components of the fermenter
  5. Both aeration, pH, and temperature are maintained
  6. Both are beneficial for microorganisms use
  7. Both fresh media are used to provide nutrients

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Comparison Video

Summary

Both batch and continuous fermentation are used in the production of useful products for microorganisms. Batch fermentation involves batch-wise production while continuous fermentation involves feeding nutrients and harvesting at regular intervals.

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