Microbial Sensing in Fermentation
Includes information on the significant recent advances in industrial fermentation Contains contributions from a panel of highly-respected experts in their respective fields Offers a resource that will be essential reading for scientists, professionals and researchers from academia and industry with an interest in the biochemistry and microbiology of fermentation technology
Written for researchers, graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds, such as biochemistry and applied microbiology, Microbial Sensing in Fermentation offers a review of the fundamental molecular mechanisms involved in the process of fermentation. About the Editors Satinder Kaur Brar: Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre ??? Eau Terre Environnement, Québec, Canada Ratul Kumar Das: TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre, Biotechnology and Management of Bioresources Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, Haryana, India Saurabh Jyoti Sarma: Department of Biotechnology, Bennett University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
Microbial Sensing in Fermentation
Biochemical Aspects of Microbial Product Synthesis: a Relook
G. Gallastegui1, A. Larrañaga2, Antonio Avalos Ramirez3, and Thi Than Ha Pham3,4
1 Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Vitoria-Gasteiz, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain
2 Department of Mining-Metallurgy Engineering and Materials Science & POLYMAT, Faculty of Engineering of Bilbao, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain
3 Centre National en Électrochimie et en Technologies Environnementales, Shawinigan, Québec, Canada
4 Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
Microbes are living unicellular or multicellular organisms (bacteria, archaea, most protozoa, and some fungi and algae) that must be greatly magnified to be seen. Despite their tiny size, they play an indispensable role for humanity and the health of ecosystems. For instance, until the discovery of an artificial nitrogen fixation process by the German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch in the first half of the 20th century, some soil microbes on the roots of peas, beans, and a few other plants were the solely responsible for the nitrogen release necessary for plants growth (Hager, 2008 ). This invention allowed to feed billions more people than the earth could support otherwise.
Besides, humanity has exploited some of the vast microbial diversity like miniature chemical factories for thousands of years in the production of fermented foods and drinks, such as wine, beer, yogurt, cheese and bread. In fact, the use of yeast as the biocatalyst in foodstuffs making is thought to have begun around the Neolithic period (ca. 10 000-4000 BCE), when early humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to living in permanent farming communities (Rasmussen, 2015 ). Vinegar, the first bio-based chemical (not intended as a beverage) produced at a commercial scale was known, used and traded internationally before the time of the Roman Empire (Licht, 2014 ).
The staggering transformation undergone by biotechnology from serendipity and black-box concepts to rational science and increasing understanding of biological systems has led to not only a direct influence of microbes on human lives, but the emergence of new industries that take advantage of these organisms in large-scale processes devoted to the manufacture of high value-added compounds, energy production and environmental protection. Nevertheless, scientists and engineers are still discovering the broad array of complex signalling that microorganisms have developed to ensure their survival in a wide range of environmental conditions, and making their utmost effort to direct them towards our own ends (Manzoni et al., 2016 ). In this chapter, a brief summary regarding the historical production of microbial products, their niche in the current global market and the importance of microbial sensing (and other new disciplines) to convert biological systems in industrially relevant actors is presented.
1.2 History of Industrial Production of Microbial Products
In the 1800s, Louis Pasteur (and later Eduard Buchner) proved that fermentation was the result of microbial activity and, consequently, the different types of fermentations were associated with different types of microorganisms. In more recent times (1928), Alexander Fleming understood that the Penicillium mould produces an antibacterial bio-chemical (antibiotics discovery), which was extracted, isolated and named penicillin. Subsequent periods of conflicts (e.g., World Wars I and II) intensified the needs of the population and, at the same time, the creativity and inventiveness of scientists and engineers, who developed large-scale fermentation techniques to make industrial quantities of drugs, such as penicillin, and biofuels