Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering vol:25 issue:1 pages:1-12
Control of microbial conversion processes is frequently inhibited by the infeasibility of measuring important process variables. In order to circumvent this lack of measurements, an accurate or valuable and conveniently measurable on-line hardware measurement can be combined with the balance equations describing the process to obtain estimates of less easily measurable variables. In this article the on-line estimation of the specific growth rate of Candida utilis is evaluated. The observer-based estimator requires a hardware measurement of the biomass during fermentations in conjuction with a model of the process; therefore the Biomass Monitor, giving an on-line measurement of viable biomass, is used in the bioreactor experiments described. The optimal tuning of the estimation for the experimental conditions is described and several alternative adaptations of the design of the estimator are presented. The influence of implemented time intervals for discretization of the estimator on the reliability of the estimated growth rate values is discussed. Additionally, the necessary choice of an initial value of the estimated specific growth rate has proven to be of great importance in practice.