Separators and Decanters for Industrial Fermentation and Organism Processing

Sep 20,2023

Industrial fermentation and bioprocessing are integral processes in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and biofuels. These processes involve the cultivation and manipulation of microorganisms to produce valuable products such as antibiotics, enzymes and biofuels. For efficient and cost-effective production, specialized equipment is required.

In this blog post, we will explore the critical role of separators and decanters in industrial fermentation and bioprocessing, and how they contribute to the success of these operations.

The Significance of Industrial Fermentation and Organism Processing

Before delving into the role of separators and decanters, it’s essential to understand the importance of industrial fermentation and organism processing. These processes are the heart of many biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications, producing a wide range of products, including:


Industrial fermentation is commonly used to produce antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline, which are essential for treating bacterial infections.


Fermentation processes are employed to produce enzymes used in various applications, including food processing, textile manufacturing, and biofuel production.


Microbial fermentation of starch and sugar produces fuel ethanol, and animal and vegetable fats and oils produce biodiesel through transesterification, contributing to renewable energy sources.


The production of biopharmaceuticals like insulin and vaccines relies on fermentation and organism processing.

Food and Beverages:

Fermentation is used in the production of food items such as yoghurt, cheese, and beer.

Food and Beverages

The success of these processes hinges on several factors, including the choice of microorganism, fermentation conditions (temperature, pH, oxygen levels), and efficient separation and recovery of the desired product from the fermentation broth.

The Role of Separators in Industrial Fermentation

Separators, also known as centrifuges, are essential components in industrial fermentation and organism processing. They play a critical role in separating solid biomass, cells, and other components from the fermentation broth.

Here’s how separators are used:

Cell Harvesting

During fermentation, microorganisms (such as bacteria, yeast, or fungi) multiply and produce the desired product. Separators are used to harvest these cells once they’ve reached the desired concentration. This step is crucial for maximizing product yield and reducing fermentation time.


Fermentation broth often contains suspended solids, cell debris, and other impurities. Separators are used to clarify the broth, separating the liquid phase (containing the product) from the solids. This clear liquid can then undergo further processing or be collected as the final product.


Separators can also be employed in the purification of biopharmaceuticals and other high-value products. They help separate the desired product from impurities and contaminants, ensuring the final product meets stringent quality standards.

Continuous Processing

Some industrial fermentations benefit from continuous processing rather than batch processing. Separators can be integrated into continuous fermentation systems, allowing for continuous cell harvesting and product recovery.


In some cases, it’s necessary to concentrate the product. Separators can be used to remove excess water, increasing the product’s concentration and purity.


The Role of Decanters in Organism Processing

While separators are widely used in concentration and clarification processes in the fermentation industry, the main use of decanters is in separation and dehydration applications, especially in the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals.

Decanters are specialized centrifuges that offer distinct advantages in these processes:

Efficient Phase Separation

Organism processing often involves separating multiple phases, such as solid biomass, water, and biofuel. Decanters are excellent at efficiently separating these phases, resulting in a high-quality product and reduced energy consumption.

Continuous Operation

Decanters are well-suited for continuous processing, which is crucial in large-scale biofuel and chemical production. Based on scientifically reliable design, they can be operated continuously and stably 24 hours a day, all year round.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Decanters contribute to environmentally friendly organism processing by efficiently separating and recovering valuable products without the need for excessive chemicals or energy.

Enhanced Solids Recovery

In biofuel production, the solid biomass (e.g., algae, yeast, or microalgae) contains valuable components that can be further processed or used as feedstock for other applications.

Decanters maximise the recovery of solids and minimise moisture content, reducing the volume of waste while saving significant amounts of energy for subsequent drying, with positive combined environmental and energy benefits.

Enhanced Solids Recovery

Case Studies: Separator and Decanter Applications

To illustrate the practical applications of separators and decanters in industrial fermentation and organism processing, let’s consider a few case studies:

Biofuel Production

In the biofuel industry, microorganisms like algae are cultivated to produce lipids (oils) that can be converted into biodiesel.

Decanters are used for the initial separation of the oil-rich phase (lipids), the aqueous phase and the solid biomass, while separators refine the oil phase (lipids) obtained from the initial separation even further. This efficient combined separation process maximises the yield and quality of the biodiesel.

Antibiotics Production

The production of antibiotics involves cultivating bacteria or fungi and then isolating the antibiotics they produce. Separators are used to harvest the microbial cells, while decanters help separate the antibiotics from the fermentation broth. This separation process ensures the antibiotics’ purity and quality.

Enzyme Production

In enzyme production, microorganisms are cultivated to produce enzymes, which are valuable in various industries. Separators are used to harvest the microbial cells, while decanters can separate the enzymes from the fermentation broth, concentrating and purifying them for use in industrial processes.

Enzyme Production


Industrial fermentation and bioprocessing are important processes in the production of a wide variety of valuable products, from antibiotics and enzymes to biofuels and pharmaceutical.

Separators and decanters are integral tools in these processes, playing a key role in cell harvesting, clarification, concentration and purification. They enable efficient phase separation and contribute to the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of these industries.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect further improvements in the efficiency, energy consumption and materials of separators and decanters, further enhancing their role in industrial fermentation and bioprocessing.

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