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    [post_content] => Typically, one of the first questions a contract fermentation customer will ask us is how quickly we can get them to economical commercial production. From our years of experience, we commonly find that if the customer can get 2 Billion CFU/ml (2B) in a standard media such as Trypticase Soy Broth (TSB) or Nutrient Broth (NB), we tend to be able to get them to commercial production in 8-12 weeks.

However, if the customer is in the 107 or 108 CFU/ml range in this quick test, we know we have a good amount of work ahead of us and it may take a while. Mind you, we have brought many strains with lower than “2B” CFU/ml yield to a point of economic feasibility, but you can bet it increases the production timeline quite a bit. Now, we know the last thing a customer wants to hear is that production yields may delay or even prevent commercialization all together. In order to prevent this, we highly recommend adding a simple 2B TSB screen into your earlier processes.

Planning Ahead

Right now, many scientists are trying to find the perfect strain for their application. They will spend months if not years screening their Bacillus libraries seeking desired attributes such as anti-fungal activity, plant growth promotion properties, hydrocarbon degradation or enzyme production properties. Once they find this wonder strain, the temptation is to immediately run to field trials or begin the arduous patenting process, both of which can take years to complete.

While you may be excited to run with your new proprietary strain, we urge you to take a precautionary step by performing an additional assay or 2B TSB screen when choosing between your library strains. We have seen many cases with customer strain candidates, where a scientist had invested 5-7 years of lab and fieldwork, only to find out in the end, economical production was not going to happen with us or other contract manufacturers. At the end of the day, some strains just do not want to scale up to some of these higher concentrations.

By adding this important test within your library strain selection processes, you could find that you may be better off choosing the strain with maybe 90-95% of the antifungal producing attribute compared to your best strain. That is if it also performs well during the 2B fermentation quick screen.

2B TSB Screen

When implementing this test, we would suggest taking a simple laboratory media such as Trypticase Soy Broth or Nutrient Broth and screen your top strains for the ability to achieve 2 Billion CFU/ml of spores in 48-72 hrs of aerobic growth (200-250 rpm shaking in a baffled flask). If you can achieve that number, you are in luck. You will likely move very quickly to an organism yielding 12-15 Billion CFU/ml with a chance of 20-30 Billion CFU/ml in the commercial fermenter. This will translate to 4x1011 to 2x1012 CFU/gram of freeze or spray dried powder in 8-12 weeks.

Before You Go to the Field, Check the Fermentation Yield

In summary, we know the pain of having invested so much time into your favorite strain only to find out that production yield will delay or prevent commercialization.  Once you have gone deep into field trials or patenting, it is so hard to turn back. Therefore, our advice is to add this screen way back during the library development stage. Do yourself a favor, take the extra couple of weeks to test your strains for economic viability. You will win in the end if you test for “2B or not 2B”.

About the Author:

Michael R. King, Ph.D., is CEO/CSO and the founder of Microbial Discovery Group (MDG). Michael is passionate about leading and developing dynamic teams in the Franklin and Oak Creek, WI facilities who share a common vision to Feed, Clean and Save the World.

Dr. King received both his Bachelor of Animal Science and Masters of Food Science Microbiology degrees from Oklahoma State University, followed by a PhD in Food Science Microbiology from the University of Illinois. Prior to founding Microbial Discovery Group, Michael held research and leadership positions within Nalco Chemical Company, Semco Bioscience and Agtech Products. With 25+ years of experience in microbial biosciences, Michael is committed to the continued exploration and advancement of biological solutions that leave the planet in a better place for generations to come.
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“I was afraid there was too much risk in making a change. I was wrong. I should have changed years ago.”

Custom Fermentation

2B or Not 2B? Success Criteria for Economical Bacillus Scale-Up

  • Mike King
  • January 20, 2021
Typically, one of the first questions a contract fermentation customer will ask us is how quickly we can get them to economical commercial production. From our years of experience, we commonly find that if the customer can get 2 Billion CFU/ml (2B) in a standard media such as Trypticase Soy Broth (TSB) or Nutrient Broth (NB), we tend to be able to get them to commercial production in 8-12 weeks. However, if the customer is in the 107 or 108
-READ MORE-

Processing Probiotic Cultures

  • MDG
  • June 16, 2020
At MDG, we make Bacillus cultures and products for a range of industries, including food. When it comes to serving our customers in this industry, specifically those manufacturing probiotics for human gut health, they often ask how we keep their cultures separate from those in the other markets that we serve. To keep food ingredients safe from cross-contamination, we leverage a dedicated room and equipment for food ingredients and process
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Good Things Always Happen in 3’s

  • MDG
  • April 21, 2020
Well, ok, that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but this modified version seems fitting. Recently, MDG received its third centrifuge to match its three fermentors already in operation. This R2D2 looking device might sound boring, but it’s an essential piece of our custom fermentation arsenal.   So, why is having a third centrifuge so important? Simply put, improved production. The centrifuge spins the liquid from a
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Planting the Seed: Start with Your Fermentation Manufacturer Early

  • Mike King
Not too long ago, a biofertilizer customer came to me frantically and explained, “I need to grow 7 strains of Bacillus in 3 weeks because it’s planting season and I can’t miss this year’s season.” I felt sorry for him, yet I had no choice but to say: “I’m sorry, but we cannot help you. Your timelines just aren’t realistic.” This exact interaction has happened more times than I care to remember. Trust me, I understand how big
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Freeze Dry, Custom Freezer

Freeze Drying or Spray Drying? A Bacillus Perspective

  • Mike King
People will often ask me, which is better for Bacillus: freeze drying or spray drying? Unfortunately, I always have to answer with: “it depends.” I want to apologize to my sales staff in advance for not keeping things simple, but I really mean well! Here are the main factors to consider when it comes to freeze drying or spray drying Bacillus: Economics and loss prevention Market and field application method Customer
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Fermentation Tanks

Supplying Quality: One Strain at a Time

  • Mike King
  • June 13, 2018
In the large-scale liquid bacterial fermentation world, there are two primary ways to grow bacteria: as individual strains or in combination with others. Here at Microbial Discovery Group, we grow one strain at a time as it has served us well over the past decade. Truth be told, if I could find a way to grow multiple strains in one batch that was produced through a consistent process, resulted high yield and a uniformity in strain ratio,
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Non Chemical Solutions, Scientific Solutions, Bacillus, Custom Fermentation

The Expanding Bacillus Market

  • Mike King
  • May 16, 2018
As a follow up to the article “The Key Drivers Behind MDG’s Current Expansion,” I’d like to take this opportunity to talk more extensively about the expanding Bacillus market. Previously, I eluded that many of the current market opportunities were due to the increased demand across multiple industries. In particular, the following four main areas are what prompted Microbial Discovery Group’s (MDG) fermentation expansion:
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50+ Strains: Why We Supply

  • Mike King
  • May 4, 2018
Part of what is driving Microbial Discovery Group’s (MDG) current expansion is our desire to produce 50+ strains. Why do we want to be a Bacillus company that produces 50+ strains? Essentially: to offer the best service and products for our customers. Below are the three main reasons why our drive to produce 50+ strains is fueling our expansion. MDG’s belief in multi-strain product offerings The current Bacillus strain
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The Benefits of Fermentation Redundancy

  • Mike King
  • April 18, 2018
It is an exciting day signing a multi-year fermentation contract! After the ink dries and celebrations conclude, I’ve learned it’s time to quickly review both redundancy and contingency plans for worst case scenarios. This is how we can guarantee on-time delivery. During the planning of our current expansion, I was reminded again of the importance of redundancy in safeguarding against setbacks. I had received a call from another
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The Key Drivers Behind MDG’s Current Expansion

  • Mike King
  • April 13, 2018
I was recently asked the WHY behind our current expansion. When I started to break it down, there were 4 key drivers that went into the new MDG facility design: Capacity expansion Reliability via redundancy Production of 50+ strains The expanding Bacillus market Capacity expansion. This is the no-brainer for expanding. MDG was reaching 75% of our capacity, so we either had to expand or recognize there would be a future cap
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