The effects of the bioreactor conditions, in particular the mode and intensity of aeration and mixing were studied on itaconic acid (IA) fermentation efficiency by Aspergillus terreus strain from glucose substrate. IA was produced in batch system by systematically varying the oxygen content of the aeration gas (from 21 to 31.5 vol% O2) and the stirring rate (from 150 to 600 rpm). The data were analyzed kinetically to characterize the behavior of the process, and besides, the performances were evaluated comparatively with the literature. It turned out that the operation of the bioreactor with either the higher inlet O2 concentration (31.5 vol% O2) or faster stirring (600 rpm) could enhance biological IA generation the most, resulting in yield and volumetric productivity of 0.31 g IA/g glucose and 0.32 g IA/g glucose and 3.15 g IA/L day and 4.26 g IA/L day, respectively. Overall, the significance of fermentation settings was shown in this work regarding IA production catalyzed by A. terreus and notable advances could be realized by adjusting the aeration and stirring towards an optimal combination.
Keywords: Aeration; Itaconic acid fermentation; Kinetic modeling; Process enhancement; Stirring.