Difference Between Fermenter and Bioreactor

Primary Difference

There are different processes which are carried out to obtain a specific product. Most of the industries, especially the manufacturing industry depend on the revenue based on the assumption that one or more products will combine together to get another new product which will be utilized by the people and then their company will make some profit. There are different types of devices which are used for this action and their choice depends on the type of substance that is required to be obtained. Two such devices which have a wide use in industry are known as fermenter and bioreactor. Both are usually similar to each other and in terms of a layman, used as the name for the same device but they are different from each other. Those differences will be discussed in this space. A bioreactor can be termed as a device which grows organisms such as bacteria and yeast which are used in the manufacturing of substances in the biotechnology field. These types of products include medicines, pharmaceutical liquids, antibodies, and vaccines. On the other hand, a fermenter is a device which has the role of keeping proper surroundings where the temperature remains same and the atmosphere is suitable for microorganisms to grow. These organisms are then used to obtain the different commercial products such as antibiotics and hormones which are essential for human survival. Both have many similarities too since they both allow the microorganisms to grow and then use them to obtain a new product but the processes are different from each other. In the case of bioreactor, there are different types of apparatuses being used such as batch, fed batch, and continuous reactors. Their use depends on the type of material which is to be obtained. Similarly, there are different prototypes which are used in the designing of a fermenter and the most commonly used one is known as OSE Fermenter. The temperature in the fermenter is kept constant while the temperature in the bioreactor keeps on changing because of the types of microbodies which are present. There are many other differences too which will be explained at the end while a brief description of two types is given in the next two paragraphs.

Comparison Chart

FermenterBioreactor
ProcessA process in which sugar is converted into other substances such as acids, alcohol, and other gasses.The type of device which is used in manufacturing engineering or systems which need a reaction to support the environment.
DeviceThe device which is used to obtain this product is known as a fermenter.The device which is used to obtain this product is known as a bioreactor
TemperatureThe temperature of a fermenter is kept same throughout the process.The temperature of a bioreactor keeps on changing according to the requirement.
UsageMostly used for keeping the microorganisms in an atmosphere where they can easily survive.Uses different chemicals to produce a new substance.
TypesThere are different prototypes that are used for designing a fermenter.There are different types of bioreactor such as batch, fed-batch, and continuous reactors.

Definition of Fermenter

Fermentation is a process in which sugar is converted into other substances such as acids, alcohol, and other gasses. It also occurs in organisms such as yeast and bacteria which do not require oxygen for their processes while in more general terms it is the growth of microorganisms to produce a specific product. The device which is used to obtain this product is known as a fermenter. It is basically a chamber in which microorganisms are placed in a controlled atmosphere to get the desired product. It is a cheaper process which does not require many costly materials and use substances such as ethanol and lactic acid. It controls the temperature and keeps the chamber free from oxygen so that the surroundings can be in such a manner that all the processes can be performed properly. Creating this device is not as hard as it may sound and requires a basic understanding of the process and the substances involved which can be used according to the requirement to get the product. There are different prototypes that are used for designing such as product and they depend on the type of material that is required along with the microorganisms which are being used for obtaining the product.

Definition of Bioreactor

It is the type of device which is used in manufacturing engineering or systems which need a reaction to support the environment. In simple words it is a process in which different biological organisms are used to obtain another product which is used for human purposes, this is done with the help of a chemical reaction and the process carried out in a bioreactor does not involve oxygen in specific circumstances while it can use it in other processes. Therefore, it can be said that bioreactor can make use of aerobic and anaerobic organisms according to the requirement. There are different types of bioreactor that are available in the manufacturing industry and have been classified based on their structure. Some of them are called batch, fed-batch, and continuous reactors. The organisms which are being used for the process can be attached to the surface of a solid medium or can be immersed in a liquid medium. They are free to move because the movement produces motion of the reactor and ends up evolving the whole process from which a new substance is produced. This plant is usually larger in size as compared to other similar reactors.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. The temperature of a fermenter is kept same throughout the process while the temperature of a bioreactor keeps on changing according to the requirement.
  2. Bioreactor uses different chemicals to produce a new substance while a fermenter is mostly used for keeping the microorganisms in an atmosphere where they can easily survive.
  3. A fermenter produces a product which can be used as antibiotic and hormones while a bioreactor produces products such as antibodies and vaccines.
  4. A bioreactor is available in different types while there are different types of prototypes available in case of the fermenter.
  5. More products are obtained from a bioreactor as compared to a fermenter because of the variations that can be made.
  6. The chemical reaction is possible in a bioreactor while no change can take place in a fermenter because of the controlled environment.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

There are many types of devices and instruments which have been confusing people for long and there are the terms related to it that can be helpful for people who are interested in managing all the things that are helpful for them. This article, has explained those terms in a proper manner to make things clearer.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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