Microbes in industrial products
Production on an industrial scale, requires growing microbes in very large vessels called fermenters
Beverages, antibiotics, enzymes are some of the industrial products produced by microbes.
- Microbes are used for the production of beverages like wine, beer, whiskey, brandy or rum.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used for the production of fermented beverages.
- Malted cereals and fruit juices are fermented by S.cerevisiae to produce ethanol.
- Wine and beer are produced without distillation.
- Whisky, brandy and rum are produced by distillation of the fermented broth.
Fig. Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- Antibiotics are the chemical substances which are produced by some microbes and can kill or stop the growth the growth of other microbes.
- Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin obtained from Penicillium notatum which was the first antibiotic to be discovered.
- Alexander Fleming while working on Staphylococci bacteria observed a mould growing in one of his unwashed culture plates around which Staphylococci could not grow and he found out that it was due to a chemical produced by Penicillium notatum.
- Antibiotics are used against the deadly diseases like plague, whooping cough, leprosy, malaria etc.
Fig. Penicillium notatum
Chemicals, enzymes and other bioactive molecules
- Microbes are used for the production of organic acids, alcohols and enzymes.
- Aspergillus niger (a fungus) is the producer of citric acid.
Fig. Aspergillus niger
- Acetobacter aceti (a bacterium)produces acetic acid.
Fig. Acetobacter aceti
- Clostridium butylicum (a bacterium) is the producer of butyric acid and Lactobacillus (a bacterium).
Fig. Clostridium butylicum
- Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is used for commercial production of ethanol.
- Lactobacillus (a bacterium) is the producer of lactic acid.
Enzymes produced by the microbes are-
- Lipases- used in detergent formulations.
- Pectinases and proteases- used in making bottled fruit juices clearer.
- Streptokinase produced by the bacterium Streptococcus is used as a ‘clot buster’ for removing clots from the blood vessels of patients who have undergone myocardial infraction leading to heart attack.
Bioactive molecules produced by microbes are-
- Cyclosporin A- used as an immunosuppressive agent in organ-transplant patients, is produced by the fungus Trichoderma polysporum.
- Statins- produced by the yeast Monascus purpureus is used as blood-cholesterol lowering agents which acts by competitively inhibiting the enzyme responsible for synthesis of cholesterol.