fermentation microbiologist, currently working at Cargill. As you’ll hear in the show, Christian works on developing and optimizing a fermentation process for lactic acid products, which is then put to very interesting use.
Terms used during interview
Lactic acid – an organic (carbon-based) acid, with the chemical formula CH3CH(OH)COOH
Biopolymer – In this case, biopolymer refers to a polymer manufactured from biologically produced subunits. The subunits are specifically lactic acid in this case. A polymer is a molecule composed of repeating subunits.
Biofuel – a fuel produced by processing biomass such as plant material or plant or food waste.
Biochemical engineering – using biological processes (either living cells or molecules produced by living cells) in commercial manufacturing processes.
Microbiology – the study of microorganisms, either unicellular or multicellular. Microbiology has a diverse range of sub-disciplines.
Microgel – a gel produced from a network of microscopic filaments of a polymer.
Fermentation – in this case, it refers to yeast activity on substrate material (the sugars from corn) and conversion into lactic acid. More widely, it can be thought of as any biological process which converts one substance into another.
Starch – a polymer made of multiple glucose subunits. Almost all green plants produce it as a form of energy storage. Chemical formula (C6H10O5)n
Dextrose – another name for glucose, a simple sugar with the formula C6H12O6
Strain (of yeast) – a specific variety of yeast with specific genetic and behavioral traits
Scale down – taking a process from a large scale and replicating conditions on a smaller scale
Scale-up – taking a process from a small scale and replicating conditions on a larger scale
Bioreactor – A device (usually some sort of container) that supports a biologically active environment.
Gas transfer – the movement of gasses from the atmosphere (or in a bioreactor, from the inputs) into a liquid
Media – a liquid supplemented with the necessary ingredients to support biological processes.
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