Microbiological Industry

Microbiological Industry


branch of industry based on microbiological synthesis of valuable products from nonfood stock (petroleum and gas hydrocarbons, wood hydrolysates) and from the industrial byproducts of sugar beets, corn, vegetable oil, grains, and other plant matter.

The microbiological industry produces protein-vitamin concentrates, amino acids, vitamins, enzyme preparations, antibiotics, bacterial and viral preparations for protecting plants against pests and diseases, bacterial fertilizers, and products of the compound processing of plant materials (for example, furfural, xylite). The industry is an outgrowth of the modern scientific and technological revolution and is based on the latest achievements in industrial microbiology, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, and cybernetics.

Ever improving systems of biological engineering, in which the tremendous energy characteristic of microbial conversion of matter is used for the planned synthesis of products necessary to agriculture and industry, are being created on a scientific basis. A considerable part of the production is being used to make biologically balanced mixed feeds: every ton of yeast added to fodder results in additional farm production of as much as 800–1,200 kg of pork, 1,500–2,000 kg of poultry (liveweight), or 15,000–25,000 eggs, while saving 3.5–5 tons of grain. The economic efficiency of animal breeding increases still more when missing vitamins, amino acids, fodder antibiotics, and enzyme preparations are added along with the nutritive yeasts to the diet.

Bacterial fertilizers and microbiological agents for controlling pests and disease promote increased yields of field, garden, orchard, and vineyard crops. Microbial and viral insecticides are safe for humans and beneficial animals and insects and help to protect nature and improve the conditions for plant and animal reproduction.

Enzyme preparations greatly accelerate a number of technological processes in the treatment of agricultural raw materials; they increase the yield and improve the production quality in the food, meat, dairy, and light industries and significantly increase labor productivity. In the chemicals industry enzyme preparations are used to produce high-quality detergents; they appear to be promising in ferrous metallurgy for the removal of oil from thin-rolled sheet steel and in industrial and household sewage for purifying systems.

In 1966, all microbiological synthesis facilities, which had been under the supervision of a variety of ministries and departments, were made into a new and independent branch of industry. The Central Microbiological Industry Administration (Glavmikrobioprom) was organized under the auspices of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The existing research and planning organizations were enlarged, and new all-Union research institutes were created to study the genetics and breeding of industrial microorganisms and to investigate bacterial preparations and microbiological methods of plant protection. A biotechnical institute was organized, and an enzyme division was created under the auspices of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Protein Synthesis.

The production of nutritive yeasts increased 2.7 times between 1966 and 1970; the manufacture of fodder antibiotics, 3.3 times; and the manufacture of enzyme preparations, 2 times. Also produced were protein-vitamin concentrates, from petroleum hydrocarbons; the fodder antibiotics fodder grisein and bacitracin; lysine, the most important amino acid; vitamin B12; and Entobacterin, an efficient plant-protection agent. The 1972 production of nutritive yeasts in the USSR was 40 percent above the 1970 figure; antibiotics production increased 29 percent, the output of enzyme preparations doubled, and lysine production increased 5 times. Agricultural output for 1971–72 at Glavmikrobioprom facilities grew 1.7 times. The average annual rate of growth of production is now significantly higher for the microbiological industry than it is for the USSR’s industry as a whole.

Major facilities have been constructed, including the Lesozavodsk (Primor’e Krai) and Khakas (Krasnoiarsk Krai) hydrolyzed yeast plants, with a capacity of 28,000 tons each; the Kirov biochemical plant, with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons of nutritive yeast; the Novogor’kovskii plant for the manufacture of protein-vitamin concentrates from petroleum paraffins, with an annual capacity of 70,000 tons; the Vilnius enzyme preparations plant (Lithuanian SSR); and the Livany (Latvian SSR) and Charentsavan (Armenian SSR) lysine plants. Construction of the largest facilities for microbiological synthesis is continuing, and highly productive equipment with large unit capacities is being created for them. The Svetloiarsk plant alone (Volgograd Oblast), with an annual output of 240,000 tons of protein-vitamin concentrates, will supply the mixed feed industry with more than 100,000 tons of digestible protein and a large quantity of vitamins.

New high-intensity methods of wood hydrolysis have made way for the efficient combined chemical and biochemical processing of timber and therefore the production of baker’s yeast, alimentary glucose, lysine, glycerin, glycols, and other valuable products.

The demands of the national economy—above all, of agriculture—for the products of microbiological synthesis are constantly increasing. The creation of a vigorous microbiological industry is part of the CPSU program for the development of agriculture and the consolidation of its material and technological bases. In addition, the microbiological industry is helping to speed progress in the food industry and in light and heavy industry. In the chemicals industry, for example, it is now possible to organize the production of new types of high-quality man-made wool-substitute fibers from amino acids and other protein products of microbiological synthesis. Lysine and enzyme and protein preparations may in the future be used widely to enhance the nutritive value of bread and cereal products and food concentrates.

The microbiological industry is also developing rapidly in the other socialist countries. Nutritive yeast is produced in Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. Lysine production has been organized in Bulgaria, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia; fodder antibiotics, in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia; and enzymes, in Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

The microbiological industry has seen substantial development in the major capitalist countries. In the USA production of fodder-supplement antibiotics increased from 1,200 tons in 1965 to 3,318 tons in 1970, and the use of enzyme preparations increased 1.8 times between 1968 and 1972. In Japan, 20,000 tons of lysine were produced by microbiological synthesis in 1973, as were 100,000 tons of glutamic acid (used principally to improve the flavor of food). Fodder antibiotics production was 4,700 tons in 1970, and the output of antibiotics used for protecting crops from disease came to about 80,000 tons. The production of enzyme preparations in 1973 for various branches of industry and agriculture was 13,300 tons.


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Alikhanian, S. I. Selektsiia promyshlennykh mikroorganizmov. Moscow, 1968.
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Lizinpoluchenie i primenenie v zhivotnovodstve. Moscow, 1973.


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