, 11:88,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 22 Jun 2012

Switching industrial production processes from complex to defined media: method development and case study using the example of Penicillium chrysogenum



Filamentous fungi are versatile cell factories and widely used for the production of antibiotics, organic acids, enzymes and other industrially relevant compounds at large scale. As a fact, industrial production processes employing filamentous fungi are commonly based on complex raw materials. However, considerable lot-to-lot variability of complex media ingredients not only demands for exhaustive incoming components inspection and quality control, but unavoidably affects process stability and performance. Thus, switching bioprocesses from complex to defined media is highly desirable.


This study presents a strategy for strain characterization of filamentous fungi on partly complex media using redundant mass balancing techniques. Applying the suggested method, interdependencies between specific biomass and side-product formation rates, production of fructooligosaccharides, specific complex media component uptake rates and fungal strains were revealed. A 2-fold increase of the overall penicillin space time yield and a 3-fold increase in the maximum specific penicillin formation rate were reached in defined media compared to complex media.


The newly developed methodology enabled fast characterization of two different industrial Penicillium chrysogenum candidate strains on complex media based on specific complex media component uptake kinetics and identification of the most promising strain for switching the process from complex to defined conditions. Characterization at different complex/defined media ratios using only a limited number of analytical methods allowed maximizing the overall industrial objectives of increasing both, method throughput and the generation of scientific process understanding.