Bacterial cellulose has been adopted in iGEM project for many years as a polymer with bright future in material science. For example, the project of iGEM 2014 Imperial is just about the application of bacterial cellulose in water purification. No matter what project we plan to do, the mass production of bacterial cellulose is always crucial as long as the project is related to it. However, methods proposed by previous iGEM team are not ideal. It’s noteworthy that all those methods adopted static culture for the fermentation of G. xylinus, which is an extremely inefficient way for the biosynthesis of bacterial cellulose. Therefore, the method for the efficient production of bacterial cellulose would be a great contribution to iGEM community. Accordingly, iGEM 2020 BNDS_China aimed to improve the previous methods in order to manufacture bacterial cellulose in a convenient and efficient way.
Rotary disc reactor (RDR) has been proposed a long time ago. In details, RDR is an innovative bioreactor for the fermentation of G. xylinus in large scale. The core components of RDR are a motor, an axis, and several plates (Figure 1). To be more specific, the axis is connected with the motor, while plates are anchored on the axis. Therefore, the rotation of motor will drive the rotation of plates1. Because about half of the plates are immersed under culture media, the rotation of plates will strike the culture media. It has been suggested in literature that the adoption of RDR could significantly enhance the production of bacterial cellulose2. Therefore, we decided to design and construct an RDR for the mass production of bacterial cellulose.
We have finished the assembly of the entire hardware (Figure 2), and the idling test proved that it could work well more than 24 hours. See more details in our Hardware webpage.HARDWARE
1. Kim, Y. J., Kim, J. N., Wee, Y. J., Park, D. H. & Ryu, H. W. Bacterial cellulose production by Gluconacetobacter sp. PKY5 in a rotary biofilm contactor. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 137-140, 529-537, doi:10.1007/s12010-007-9077-8 (2007).
2. Krystynowicz, A. et al. Factors affecting the yield and properties of bacterial cellulose. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 29, 189-195, doi:10.1038/sj.jim.7000303 (2002).
3. Pae, N. Rotary discs reactor for enhanced production of microbial cellulose. Tp Chemical Technology (2009).