The key difference between bioreactor and fermentor is the type of biochemical reaction that takes place inside the closed vessels. A bioreactor facilitates all types of biochemical reactions but, a fermentor facilitates fermentation only.
The application of Biotechnology in the industry is an interesting area of Science. These applications vary from microbial applications to the animal-based application. Furthermore, the industrial applications of Biotechnology vary across main areas such as agriculture, medicine and various industries. Bioreactors are closed vessels in which the necessary conditions are created to facilitate different types of biochemical reactions. Fermentors belong to the group of bioreactors, but it is especially to carry out fermentation only.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is a Bioreactor
3. What is a Fermentor
4. Similarities Between Bioreactor and Fermentor
5. Side by Side Comparison – Bioreactor vs Fermentor in Tabular Form
What is a Bioreactor?
Bioreactor is a closed vessel that has the ability to process and facilitate all types of biochemical reactions. Thus, these bioreactors are important in various cell culturing techniques to facilitate cellular growth. The cells which grow inside the bioreactors can vary from single-celled microorganisms to multicellular plant and animal cells. At the end of the process, the desired products can be extracted or separated easily. Hence, these bioreactors utilize routinely in industries to produce secondary metabolites such as pharmaceuticals, vitamins and proteins.
There are different types of bioreactors based on the reactions they facilitate. The main types of bioreactors are stirred tank bioreactors, airlift bioreactors, column bioreactors and packed bed bioreactors. Apart from that, there are several kinds of bioreactors based on the types of culturing mechanism used in the bioreactor. Thus, if the bioreactors carry out suspension culturing, they are known as suspended growth bioreactors. In contrast, if the bioreactors form biofilms for producing metabolites, they are termed as biofilm bioreactors.
Furthermore, we should optimize the nutrients and other media components in a bioreactor system, and alter the appropriate physical conditions to facilitate the maximum growth and efficient production of metabolites in a bioreactor.
What is a Fermentor?
Fermentor is a specialized bioreactor. Thus, it only carries out fermentation reactions. Fermentation is the process that produces acids and alcohols from sugar sources under anaerobic conditions. Most industries such as wine industry etc widely use fermentation of sugars to produce lactic acid and ethanol. Thus, fermentors use microbial sources that are capable of fermentation. They include fungi such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and bacteria such as Acetobacter.
Fermentation takes place under anaerobic conditions and the regulation of the temperature and the pH of the system. Hence, fermentor has an inlet and an outlet to add raw materials and to remove the product respectively. Within the fermentors, two main types of fermentations can perform such as submerged fermentation and surface fermentation. Accordingly, submerged fermentation where the cells submerge in the media and surface fermentation where the microbial cultures lie loosely on the surface of the fermentor media.
What are the Similarities Between Bioreactor and Fermentor?
- Bioreactor and Fermentor are closed systems.
- They facilitate biochemical reactions.
- Factors such as temperature, pH, aeration and sterility regulate both systems.
- Furthermore, they are useful in the industry to produce various biological products
- Both operate in large-scale production of industrially important molecules.
What is the Difference Between Bioreactor and Fermentor?
The key difference between bioreactor and fermentor is the type of reaction that facilitates by each closed system. Bioreactor facilitates any type of biochemical reactions while fermentor facilitates fermentation. In fact, fermentors are specific bioreactors designed for fermentation reactions that occur under anaerobic conditions. However, both, the bioreactor and fermentor are industrially important in producing various products.
The below infographic on difference between bioreactor and fermentor describes these differences as a side by side comparison.
Summary – Bioreactor vs Fermentor
Bioreactor and fermentor are closed systems that carry out biochemical reactions. The key difference between bioreactor and fermentor is that bioreactors generally carry out any type of biochemical reactions while fermentors only carry out fermentation. Thus, fermentors will only produce acids such as lactic acid and alcohols. Therefore, we use only the fermentative microbes in fermentors. In contrast, bioreactors are capable of producing varied products such as pharmaceuticals, drugs and proteins. Thus, both are vital in the industry for mass production of compounds.
1.“BioReactorsAnd Fermentation |.” OMICS International, OMICS International. Available here
2.Obom, Kristina M., et al. “Operation of a Benchtop Bioreactor | Protocol.” Determining the Density of a Solid and Liquid | Protocol, 12 Sept. 2013. Available here
1.”BTEC Bioreactors”By RickLawless (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Laboratory microbiological fermentor-pl”By Pleple2000 – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia