Microbial processes functioning in bioreactors under realistic conditions are subject to incomplete dispersion and the presence of noise from the environment and within the cells. These factors complicate the development of good quantitative descriptions of microbial reactors. Most analyses have therefore focused on either the intra-cellular or the extra-cellular processes, ignoring or simplifying the other facet. The resulting models are thus useful only for the intended purposes and in limited domains, but they do not include a comprehensive description of all features. These models have employed one or more of three main approaches to develop quantitative descriptions – mechanistic, cellular intelligence (or cybernetic), and artificial intelligence. Models using judicious combinations of two or more methods have wider and more versatile applicability. However, no model has accommodated both intra-cellular and extra-cellular noise in a macroscopic description of a nonideal bioreactor. Based on a review of recent studies, such a conceptual model is presented here. It combines all three approaches in a flexible design.
Key words: Microbial processes, dispersion, noise, modeling approaches, comprehensive description.
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