Strain Develpment & Improvement

Microbiology

Our team of experienced scientists and technicians in the microbiology lab are responsible for the initial shake-flask studies which are a necessary prerequisite for the development of fermentation processes for Microbial Secondary Metabolites and API production in stirred tank bioreactors (fermenters). At AFI we employ a wide range of fungal and bacterial strains acquired from around the world. Our particular strength is in production of small molecules (Molecular Weight < 2000 Daltons) by filamentous fungi and bacteria. We have also worked with conventional bacteria, yeast and proteins. Strains are improved by mutation and selection with respect to productivity and growth characteristics. Microbiology staff are responsible for the development of seed and production media, and choosing the best combination of nutrients for optimum growth and productivity. They deliver preliminary data on the optimum physical parameters which are used to scale up processes into lab-scale fermenters. They are also responsible for creation of frozen cell banks for AFI’s key microbial strains.

The microbiology lab is equipped with four incubation chambers capable of temperature and humidity control. Inside the incubation chambers are large shaking platforms capable of incubation of up to 3200 shake-flasks simultaneously. Axenic transfers of cultures are facilitated by the use of laminar flow hoods with UV sterilizing lamps. The lab is equipped with all the necessary equipment needed to conduct microbiological R&D including microscopes, pH meters, incubators and fume hoods. Simple determinations such as biomass and pH measurements are carried out in situ while chemical determinations of API titre and residual nutrient levels are performed in analytical chemistry.