A bioreactor model system specifically designed for Tetrahymena growth and cholesterol removal from milk

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Jun;75(3):515-20. doi: 10.1007/s00253-007-0843-x. Epub 2007 Feb 10.


This work describes the configuration and operation of a bioreactor system especially designed for Tetrahymena cultivation and its use for milk improvement, particularly cholesterol elimination by the action of this cell. An advantage of the proposed method is the re-use of the growth medium; thus, the medium is used twice to provide two batches of Tetrahymena biomass without the need of further inoculation. This makes the procedure of producing the cell biomass faster and more economical. Cells are concentrated in the culture vessels by sedimentation at room temperature and then transferred to milk suspensions, where they can further grow for at least one generation with the benefit of reducing steeply cholesterol level. Milk treated according to this process is separated from the biomass by centrifugation. Under these conditions, less than 5% of the cells remain in the milk, and cholesterol elimination amounts to 75 +/- 10% of that initially present. No changes in sensorial properties of the milk, such as clotting or butyric odor, were observed as a result of this treatment. In addition, the bioreactor allows the aseptic recovery of the spent growth medium, which contains diverse enzymes of interest, and the cell pellets, to exploit particular lipids like phosphonolipids, abundant poly-unsaturated fatty acids and co-enzyme Q(8).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors*
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Tetrahymena / growth & development*
  • Tetrahymena / metabolism


  • Cholesterol