SUMMARY: A theoretical treatment of continuous culture is given, which allows quantitative prediction of the steady-state concentrations of bacteria and substrate in the culture, and how these may be expected to vary with change of medium, concentration and flow-rate. The layout and operation of a small pilot plant for the continuous culture of bacteria are described. This plant has been operated continuously for periods of up to 4 months without breakdown or contamination of the culture. No alterations in the properties of the organisms studied have occurred during such periods of continuous culture. Results are given of a series of experiments on the continuous culture of in a chemically defined medium, designed to allow quantitative comparison with the results predicted by the theory. The relative advantages of batch and continuous culture as production processes are discussed, and it is concluded that continuous culture may usually be expected to show a five to tenfold increase in output as compared with a batch process.


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