Difference between Batch and Continuous Fermentation

Fermentation is the metabolic process of the breakdown of organic molecules in the absence of oxygen with the aid of microorganisms. It is mostly used in industrial processes to produce beverages and food materials. There are four modes of fermentation: batch, fed-batch, continuous, and open fermentation.

Batch Fermentation

In a batch fermentation process, all the ingredients are combined at once, and then undergo reaction without any further input from outside. This type of fermentation goes through three phases – lag phase, where the microbial cells adapt to the environment, exponential phase, where the cells grow in size and then comes a stationary phase, where all the nutrients have been consumed, and the cells die. It is used in industries for the production of wines and bread.

Continuous Fermentation

Continuous fermentation is a process where ingredients are added throughout the process as per the need, and the products are removed as they are formed. The exponential phase is usually prolonged in this type because of the continuous addition of nutrients.

Let us know about the differences between batch and continuous fermentation now.

Batch Fermentation
Continuous Fermentation
Type of Fermentation
It is a closed batch. It is an open batch.
Nutrient addition
All the nutrients are added at once in the beginning. Nutrients are added throughout the batch.
Product extraction
The product is extracted at the end of the batch. The product is continuously removed while the batch is operating.
Turnover rate
The turnover rate (formation of product) is low. The turnover rate is high.
Type of product
It is used to extract secondary metabolites such as antibiotics. It is used to extract primary metabolites such as amino acids and proteins.
Growth conditions inside the fermenter
The growth conditions can be changed by altering pH and dissolved oxygen. The growth conditions have to be maintained throughout the operation of the batch.
Size of the fermenter
Large fermenters are used. Small-size fermenters are used.
Chances of contamination
It has less chance of contamination. It has a high chance of contamination.
Microbial phases
The microbes go through three phases – lag, exponential and stationary. The microbes go through a very short lag phase and then maintain themselves at the exponential phase.
Nutrient consumption
Nutrients are consumed at a slower rate. Nutrients are consumed rapidly.

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What is the difference between batch, fed-batch and continuous fermentation?

In the batch method, extra nutrients are not supplied till the end of the process. In a fed-batch culture, nutrients are added systematically for an extended duration, unlike in a continuous batch where nutrients are added, and products are removed continuously.


What are the advantages of continuous fermentation?

The advantages of continuous fermentation are the following:- it gives more product, doesn’t require cleaning of the fermenter after every product extraction, and is very efficient.


What are the two types of continuous culture?

The two types of continuous culture are: open continuous culture and closed continuous culture.


What are the disadvantages of batch culture?

The major disadvantage of batch culture is its low productivity.


What are the disadvantages of continuous cultivation?

Continuous fermentation has the disadvantage of getting contaminated very easily.


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