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MICROBIAL CELL CULTURE AND ITS APPLICATIONS
That microorganisms like bacteria and fungi are cultured to obtain a number of products, which are beneficial for human beings. Some of the commonest examples are antibiotics, ethanol and enzymes. With the advent of biotechnology and genetic engineering techniques, microorganisms are also being used for the production of recombinant molecules such as insulin, hepatitis B vaccine, growth hormones and interferons. Microorganisms are also grown or cultured for production of biomass per se such as the single cell protein (SCP). Besides these, scientists culture microbes in their laboratories for research proposes. It is therefore very important to understand how microbes are cultured in the laboratory or in the industry for production of various important molecules.
A microbial culture works as a factory in which the metabolism of a microorganism is exploited to convert raw material into products. There is a maximal capacity for a single microbial cell to convert raw material into products in a given period of time. Hence, to produce a given amount of product within a given time, it is necessary to calculate the number of cells as well as doubling time of the particular bacterium used in the process. Like any other chemical reaction, which requires an appropriate temperature, pressure, pH and solvent, microbes also grow in an appropriate environment of pH, temperature, nutrients (provided by the growth medium) and the substrate (raw material), which is converted by the bacterium into the desired product.
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