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A next generation, pilot-scale continuous sterilization system for fermentation media

  • B. Junker
  • M. Lester
  • T. Brix
  • D. Wong
  • J. Nuechterlein
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2006
  • Biology
  • Design


A new continuous sterilization system was designed, constructed, started up, and qualified for media sterilization for secondary metabolite cultivations, bioconversions, and enzyme production. An existing Honeywell Total Distributed Control 3000-based control system was extended using redundant High performance Process Manager controllers for 98 I/O (input/output) points. This new equipment was retrofitted into an industrial research fermentation pilot plant, designed and constructed in the early 1980s. Design strategies of this new continuous sterilizer system and the expanded control system are described and compared with the literature (including dairy and bio-waste inactivation applications) and the weaknesses of the prior installation for expected effectiveness. In addition, the reasoning behind selection of some of these improved features has been incorporated. Examples of enhancements adopted include sanitary heat exchanger (HEX) design, incorporation of a “flash” cooling HEX, on-line calculation of Fo and Ro, and use of field I/O modules located near the vessel to permit low-cost addition of new instrumentation. Sterilizer performance also was characterized over the expected range of operating conditions. Differences between design and observed temperature, pressure, and other profiles were quantified and investigated.

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