Influence of the construction of porous spargers on lovastatin production by Aspergillus terreus ATCC 20,542 in a laboratory bubble column

  • Shahin Ansari
  • Hasan JaliliEmail author
  • Marcin Bizukojc
  • Abdeltif Amrane
Research Paper


In bubble column bioreactors, the hydrodynamic behavior like mixing time, bubble size and morphology of filamentous fungi are influenced by the construction of spargers. Sparger pore size is an important factor influencing formation of bubbles. In this study for the first time, a 5-L bubble column bioreactor with different porous spargers was used to investigate the effect of mean air bubble diameter (at 0.36, 0.18 and 0.09 cm) on fungal growth, broth viscosity, fungal pellet morphology and lovastatin production by the filamentous fungus Aspergillus terreus. All cultivations were carried out at air flow rate equal to 0.5 Lair L−1 min−1. The viscosity of the broth was influenced by both biomass concentration and size of the fungal pellets. The highest values of viscosity were observed at bubbles of 0.09 cm diameter after 192 h of cultivation. The largest fluffy pellets and the highest yield of lovastatin (443 mg/L) were obtained at air bubbles diameter of 0.18 cm. Lovastatin yield on biomass growth in this condition was, respectively, 1.7-fold and 3.5-fold higher than in the cultivations performed with air bubbles of 0.36 and 0.09 cm diameters. These laboratory scale experiment indicates that air bubble diameter has the impact on lovastatin production and A. terreus culture conditions.


Aspergillus terreus Bubble column bioreactor Lovastatin sparger design 



The authors would like to thank the staff of life science engineering laboratory for their assistance.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

449_2019_2118_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.1 mb)
Supplementary file1 (DOC 2173 kb)


  1. 1.
    Alberts A, Chen J, Kuron G, Hunt V, Huff J, Hoffman C, Rothrock J, Lopez M, Joshua H, Harris E (1980) Mevinolin: a highly potent competitive inhibitor of hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase and a cholesterol-lowering agent. Proc Natl Acad Sci 77:3957–3961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tobert JA (2003) Lovastatin and beyond: the history of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Nat Rev Drug Discovery 2:517–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Szakacs G, Morovjan G, Tengerdy R (1998) Production of lovastatin by a wild strain of Aspergillus terreus. Biotech Lett 20:411–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gbewonyo K, Hunt G, Buckland B (1992) Interactions of cell morphology and transport processes in the lovastatin fermentation. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 8:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ansari FJ, Jalili H, Bizukojc M, Amrane A (2018) Optimization of date syrup as a novel medium for lovastatin production by Aspergillus terreus ATCC 20542 and analyzing assimilation kinetic of carbohydrates. Annals of Microbiology 68:351–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Porcel ER, López JC, Pérez JS, Sevilla JF, Chisti Y (2005) Effects of pellet morphology on broth rheology in fermentations of Aspergillus terreus. Biochem Eng J 26:139–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lai L-ST, Tsai T-H, Cheng T-Y (2005) The influence of culturing environments on lovastatin production by Aspergillus terreus in submerged cultures. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 36:737–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    López JC, Pérez JS, Sevilla JF, Porcel ER, Chisti Y (2005) Pellet morphology, culture rheology and lovastatin production in cultures of Aspergillus terreus. J Biotechnol 116:61–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bizukojc M, Pawlak M, Boruta T, Gonciarz J (2012) Effect of pH on biosynthesis of lovastatin and other secondary metabolites by Aspergillus terreus ATCC 20542. J Biotechnol 162:253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rodriguez Porcel E, Casas Lopez J, Sanchez Perez J, Fernandez Sevilla J, García Sánchez J, Chisti Y (2006) Aspergillus terreus broth rheology, oxygen transfer, and lovastatin production in a gas-agitated slurry reactor. Ind Eng Chem Res 45:4837–4843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Polli M, Di Stanislao M, Bagatin R, Bakr EA, Masi M (2002) Bubble size distribution in the sparger region of bubble columns. chemical Engineering science 57, 197-205.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mouza A, Dalakoglou G, Paras S (2005) Effect of liquid properties on the performance of bubble column reactors with fine pore spargers. Chem Eng Sci 60:1465–1475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kantarci N, Borak F, Ulgen KO (2005) Bubble column reactors. Process Biochem 40:2263–2283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang Z, Jin B (2007) Effects of cultivation parameters on the morphology of Rhizopus arrhizus and the lactic acid production in a bubble column reactor. Eng Life Sci 7:490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Merchuk J, Contreras A, Garcia F, Molina E (1998) Studies of mixing in a concentric tube airlift bioreactor with different spargers. Chem Eng Sci 53:709–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Camarasa E, Vial C, Poncin S, Wild G, Midoux N, Bouillard J (1999) Influence of coalescence behaviour of the liquid and of gas sparging on hydrodynamics and bubble characteristics in a bubble column. Chem Eng Process 38:329–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Du J, Cao N, Gong CS, Tsao GT, Yuan N (1997) Fumaric acid production in airlift loop reactor with porous sparger. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 63:541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lopez JC, Pérez JS, Sevilla JF, Fernández FA, Grima EM, Chisti Y (2003) Production of lovastatin by Aspergillus terreus: effects of the C: N ratio and the principal nutrients on growth and metabolite production. Enzyme and microbial technology 33:270–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gupta K, Mishra P, Srivastava P (2007) A correlative evaluation of morphology and rheology ofAspergillus terreus during lovastatin fermentation. Biotechnol Bioprocess Eng 12:140–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sayyad SA, Panda BP, Javed S, Ali M (2007) Optimization of nutrient parameters for lovastatin production by Monascus purpureus MTCC 369 under submerged fermentation using response surface methodology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73:1054–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Benedict SR (1907) The detection and estimation of reducing sugars. J Biol Chem 3:101–117Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jia Z, Zhang X, Cao X (2009) Effects of carbon sources on fungal morphology and lovastatin biosynthesis by submerged cultivation of Aspergillus terreus. Asia-Pac J Chem Eng 4:672–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lounes M, Thibault J (1993) Hydrodynamics and power consumption of a reciprocating plate gas–liquid column. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 71:497–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Taguchi H (1966) Dynamic measurement of the volumetric oxygen transfer coefficient in a fermentation system. J. Ferment. Technol. 44:881–889Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Krull R, Wucherpfennig T, Esfandabadi ME, Walisko R, Melzer G, Hempel DC, Kampen I, Kwade A, Wittmann C (2013) Characterization and control of fungal morphology for improved production performance in biotechnology. J Biotechnol 163:112–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zhang ZY, Jin B, Kelly JM (2009) Enhancement of L (+)-lactic acid production using acid-adapted precultures of Rhizopus arrhizus in a bubble column reactor. J Biosci Bioeng 108:344–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Yoshizawa Y, Witter DJ, Liu Y, Vederas JC (1994) Revision of the biosynthetic origin of oxygens in mevinolin (lovastatin), a hypocholesterolemic drug from Aspergillus terreus MF 4845. J Am Chem Soc 116:2693–2694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lai L-ST, Tsai T-H (2002) Application of oxygen vectors to Aspergillus terreus cultivation. J Biosci Bioeng 94:453–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chain E, Gualandi G, Morisi G (1966) Aeration studies. IV. Aeration conditions in 3000-liter submerged fermentations with various microorganisms. Biotechnol Bioeng 8:595–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahin Ansari
    • 1
  • Hasan Jalili
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcin Bizukojc
    • 2
  • Abdeltif Amrane
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Life Science Engineering, Faculty of New Sciences and TechnologiesUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Bioprocess Engineering, Faculty of Process and Environmental EngineeringLodz University of TechnologyLodzPoland
  3. 3.Univ Rennes, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-UMR 6226RennesFrance

Personalised recommendations