Similarities and differences between cultures of free and immobilized Aspergillus niger were identified under various glucose concentrations. Growth and citric acid production rates were compared, and the macro-morphology and fine structure of the mycelia examined to determine which parameters were significant in the production of citric acid. With free cultures the diameter of pellets was inversely related to glucose concentration, while biomass levels were lower for immobilized cultures than the equivalent free cultures. Rates of citric acid production were higher with immobilized mycelium, especially at higher glucose levels. The morphology that characterized high citric acid productivity was that of swollen hyphal tips which were seen at concentrations over 100 kg/m3 glucose in both free and immobilized mycelium. Although there is a characteristic morphology associated with high productivity it does not account for the difference observed between free and immobilized mycelia. The increased glucose uptake and productivity was not due to an increased surface area either, since the immobilized system was slightly lower in total surface area than the equivalent free cultures. The major difference was in the mean diffusion path in the two systems.
- citric acid
- aspergillus niger