Basic Biology of Microbial Fermentation
The great majority of what we know about microbial fermentations was discovered before 1950 (See review by Wood (1)). Since then microbial and biochemical science has passed on to questions of structure and function of macromolecules, organelles and cells thought to be more intriguing or deserving of attention. Now for economic and strategic reasons, attention is once again focused on microbial fermentations for their potential to produce useful and energy-containing products from starch, waste materials or currently unusable biomass. Further, strategists in this area have a kind of tacit belief that, somewhere in the tremendous explosion of biological and chemical knowledge since 1950, there are missing pieces of information and techniques, that when capitalized upon, will propel microbial fermentations from their current state of near obliyion back to center stage, being caught up in a new wave of bioinnovation. In such a scenario the task will be to couple the new knowledge with the old science and technology of fermentation. In such a new endeavor those with the old knowledge need to know what opportunities the new knowledge makes possible, and the practitioners of new science need to know a fair amount about the old science rather than attempting to “reinvent the wheel”.
KeywordsLactate Lignin Pyruvate Fructose NADH
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