Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 28, Issue 19, pp 1515–1525

Immobilized yeast cell systems for continuous fermentation applications

  • Pieter J. Verbelen
  • David P. De Schutter
  • Filip Delvaux
  • Kevin J. Verstrepen
  • Freddy R. Delvaux


In several yeast-related industries, continuous fermentation systems offer important economical advantages in comparison with traditional systems. Fermentation rates are significantly improved, especially when continuous fermentation is combined with cell immobilization techniques to increase the yeast concentration in the fermentor. Hence the technique holds a great promise for the efficient production of fermented beverages, such as beer, wine and cider as well as bio-ethanol. However, there are some important pitfalls, and few industrial-scale continuous systems have been implemented. Here, we first review the various cell immobilization techniques and reactor setups. Then, the impact of immobilization on cell physiology and fermentation performance is discussed. In a last part, we focus on the practical use of continuous fermentation and cell immobilization systems for beer production.


Beer production Fermentation technology Flocculation Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yeast physiology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter J. Verbelen
    • 1
  • David P. De Schutter
    • 1
  • Filip Delvaux
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Verstrepen
    • 2
  • Freddy R. Delvaux
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Malting and Brewing Science, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenHeverleeBelgium
  2. 2.Bauer Center for Genomics Research, Room 104Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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