The world's population is constantly growing and so is the demand for food. To meet this need, food producers need to think and act in new ways. 

Precision fermentation is playing a key role in this transformation. In this process, selected or "reprogrammed" microorganisms produce food ingredients as a kind of biological mini-factory.

Fermentation has benefitted mankind since early times. Beer, wine, sourdough and kimchi are just a few examples. In principle, fermentation involves enzymes or microorganisms producing one or more new substances from a starting substrate. For example, fermentation of sugar in beer production produces alcohol. 

Precision fermentation now goes one step further. Through selection or genetic reprogramming, microorganisms in an intelligent bioreactor can produce a variety of food ingredients such as proteins, vitamins, enzymes, aromas, pigments and fats. It is already possible to produce cheese from milk proteins that have never been in contact with a cow.

Intelligent bioreactor as a key component

In terms of process technology, bioreactors are the most important component of precision fermentation. Bioreactors must be able to precisely implement process parameters for the organisms, such as substrate supply, temperature, aeration or the use of an agitator. In addition, high demands are placed on its hygienic design and cleanability. These are all challenges that Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH aims to meet, with more than 170 years of experience in the design and production of tanks and process solutions for the global beverage and liquid food industry. 

For example, the HACCP specifications and recommendations of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) are implemented from the design stage. With electric polishing systems, roughness depths of less than 0.3 μm can be achieved. A riboflavin test is also carried out before delivery to ensure that the surfaces can be cleaned efficiently and without leaving any residue.

The design of a bioreactor is based on the customer's individual framework conditions. This flexibility also applies when plant designers select units for cooling or heating processes, valves and pumps; implement international specifications; or take into account local conditions such as the risk of earthquakes or high wind loads. At this stage, the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tool is used for stress and safety calculations, and the future process can already be simulated using additional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

One-piece bioreactors in operation

Ziemann Holvrieka can manufacture and deliver bioreactors with volumes ranging from 50 to 300 m3 and stainless steel tanks with a diameter of up to 7.5 meters in one piece. Larger tanks can be manufactured on site. 

Due to this standardization, production capacity and the direct connection of the production site in Bürgstadt, Germany to international shipping routes, short delivery times can be realized. Ziemann Holvrieka acts as a turnkey provider, from design and project management to installation and commissioning.