Experimental verification of a mathematical model for pelleted growth of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) in submerged batch culture

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A published mathematical model for growth of pellets of filamentous microorganisms has been tested by comparison of model predictions with experimental data on growth of Streptomyces coelicolor in liquid batch culture. The original model considered the classification of pellets into a range of size classes. Growth resulted in movement of pellets to classes of increasing size, while shear forces produced mycelial fragments which entered the smallest size class, from which they grew to form further pellets, This model did not correctly describe changes in pellet size distributions during growth and was therefore modified in two ways. In the first, new pellets were assumed to be formed by the break-up, by shear forces, of existing pellets into two pellets of equal size, rather than removal of small hyphal fragments from the pellet surface. The second modification assumed that the outer shell of active mycelial biomass had a density less than 1 g cm(-3) and that hyphal density within this shell decreased with distance from the pellet centre. The modified model generated predictions which agreed closely with experimental data on biomass concentration, pellet size distribution, pellet number and pellet radius during batch growth, thereby supporting the assumptions on which the model was based. The model did not accurately describe final biomass concentration, through lack of consideration of autolysis of mycelia at the centre of larger pellets in which growth was limited by diffusion of nutrients. Attempts to incorporate autolysis into the model improved prediction of biomass concentration but were not based on sound biological assumptions and increased the complexity of the model. Further experimental work is required for accurate description of the effects of autolysis on pellet growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996


  • streptomycetes
  • mycelial pellets
  • filamentous growth
  • mathematical model


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