A system in which the organisms are cultivated and provoked to produce the desired products is called a bioreactor. In contrast, the fermenter is the system used for the fermentation process to produce the desired outcomes. Mainly in the bioreactor, plant and animal cells are used, while fermentation is limited to microbial use only.
These are types of closed- system/ vessels that are used for the particular type of biochemical reaction, where, in the bioreactor, various kinds of biochemical reaction can be performed, but in a fermenter, the only fermentation process can be done. These systems are used industrially for large-scale production.
Man has been using the microorganism since centuries for various purposes, especially in the production of food and beverages like cheese, bread, butter, curd, wine, beer, pickles. But the actual or organized use of microorganisms started for large-scale production in industries began about two centuries ago.
Both the techniques (bioprocess and fermentation) are widely exploited and is industrially used for producing various products such as vaccines, pharmaceuticals (insulins and antibiotics), beer, wine, etc. Proper measures of the factors such as temperature, pressure, pH, moisture, oxygen level and are checked to maintain cell growth and productivity.
With this, content is dedicated to discussing the main points that highlight the differences between the two types of necessary process used in pharma, food and wine industries basically, and these are bioreactor and fermenter.
Content: Bioreactor Vs Fermenter
|Basis for Comparison||Bioreactor||Fermenter|
|Meaning||Such large fermentation chambers that are used for the production of the like antibodies, drugs (vaccines and pharmaceuticals) and in the bioconversion of organic waste is known as bioreactors.||Such apparatus (closed system) that requires specific conditions to grow certain kind of microorganisms and is commercially used for the production of the hormones, alcohols and antibiotics.|
|Type of Reaction||The biochemical reaction only.||The fermentation only.|
|Products obtained||Metabolites like Peptides, drugs (antibodies, vaccines), pharmaceuticals, amino acids.||Alcohols and acids only.|
|Organisms Involved||Plant and animal cells, Unicellular microbes.||Fermentative microbes.|
|Aerobic/Anaerobic||The bioreactor can be functional under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.||Fermenters are functional only under anaerobic condition.|
|Other features||Based on the desired product, various substances can be used in the process.||In this only glucose or the compounds containing glucose can be used.|
|Biochemically active substances like catalyst and enzymes and other microorganisms can be used.||Only microorganisms (specific type) are used to carry out the reactions.|
|The volume in the tank can be up to litres.||There is the limit in volume in a fermenter, that is upto 2L only.
|The bioreactor can be used for the production of secondary metabolites or cell mass.||Fermenters are used for the production of primary metabolites.|
|There are chances of getting infected by the virus.||Does not get affected by the virus.|
Definition of Bioreactor
The bioreactor is the advanced version of the fermentation technology, which are widely used for in industries for large-scale production of various products. This process broadly involves various enzymatic catalyzed reactions that are carried out by the living cells for the industrial purpose.
In the bioprocess technology, preferably plant and animal cells (insects, mammalian cells) are cultivated or grows, and it also supports the growth of the secondary metabolites that include vaccines, antibodies, pharmaceuticals products, etc.
Bioreactors can be classified in six ways based on the designs; Airlift bioreactors, fluidized bioreactors, packed-bed, photobioreactors, bubble column bioreactors, continuous bioreactors.
The main aim of all these bioreactors is to make sure that all parts of the system are subjected to the same conditions. Based on purpose, bioreactors can be classified as biofilm and suspended bioreactors, that process cell cultures.
The main advantage of bioreactor is that it promotes the various type of biochemical reactions and secondly the doubling times can be 14, 17 or even 24 hours.
Definition of Fermenter
The word ‘fermentation‘ has been derived from the Latin word ‘fervere‘ which means ‘to boil’. The biological process that occurs in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic) is known as the fermentation.
Although, with the upgraded technology and introduction of industrial fermentation, for the large-scale cultivation of microorganisms, the word anaerobic is not applicable with all types of fermenting processes.
In the process of fermentation, microorganisms like bacteria and fungi are used for the production of lactic acid or ethanol. Fermenter also provides conditions like temperature, nutrients for the microorganism to grow.
There can be two types of cultures in a fermenter, batch or continuous, and on the ground of this, they have been classified as a batch, fed-batch or continuous cultures. Even, two types of fermentation can be performed in fermenter: submerged fermentation and surface fermentation.
In submerged fermentation, the process occurs by microorganisms in a liquid medium, whereas in surface fermentation, the process occurs in a solid medium.
Key Differences Between Bioreactor and Fermenter
Upcoming points will are the significant one to get the differences between the bioreactor and fermenter:
- Such large fermentation chambers that are used for the production of the antibodies, drugs (vaccines and pharmaceuticals) and in the bioconversion of organic waste is known as bioreactors. On the other hand, such apparatus (closed system) that requires specific conditions to grow certain kind of microorganisms and is commercially used for the production of the alcohols, acids, hormones and antibiotics are known as fermenters.
- Bioreactor shows the biochemical reaction only and fermenters shows the fermentation reaction only.
- Products obtained through the bioreactors are metabolites like Peptides, drugs (antibodies, vaccines), pharmaceuticals, amino acids, while fermenters give the products like alcohols, hormones, antibiotics and acids only.
- Organisms involved in the bioreactor process are plant and animal cells, unicellular microbes, while in fermentation process fermentative microbes are involved.
- The bioreactor can work at aerobic or anaerobic conditions, whereas fermenters perform only under anaerobic condition.
- In bioreactors, various substances can be used in the process, based on the desired product, but in fermenters, only glucose or the compounds containing glucose can be used for making the products.
- Biochemically active substances like catalyst and enzymes and other microorganisms can be used in bioreactors, on the contrary, in fermenters, only microorganisms (specific type) are used to carry out the reactions.
- There is the limit in volume in the fermenter, that is up to 2L only, whereas in bioreactors the volume in the tank can be up to litres.
- The bioreactor can be used for the production of secondary metabolites, or cell mass and fermenters are used for the production of primary metabolites.
- Bioreactors vessels have the chances of getting infected by a virus, but fermenters vessels do not get affected by the virus.
- Both are closed systems.
- They are affected by the aeration, temperature, pH, nutrition and sterility.
- The vessels used in these systems are made of stainless steel and are cylindrical in shape.
- They promote biochemical reactions and useful in producing different biological products.
- They are used in industries for large-scale productions.
In this article, we came to know about the bioreactor and fermenter, although both are closely connected and sometimes can be interchanged in a broad sense. Sometimes fermenter can be bioreactors, and the only difference lies in the type of biochemical reactions that occur in them.