Cultivation of Monascus purpureus (CCRC 31615) for the production of natura
l pigments was investigated. Traditionally, Monascus species were grown on
rice by solid-state culture. For large-scale cultivation, solid-state cultu
res were associated with some problems such as contamination and scale-up.
By using submerged cultures with rice particles, a stirred-tank fermentor w
as not suitable for submerged cultures as the impeller tended to break the
particles into small pieces. A conventional bubble column was also unsuitab
le as its mixing capability was poor. In the present study, a modified bubb
le column with wire-mesh draft tubes was employed for the cultivation of M.
purpureus. The proposed column had a shorter mixing time and a higher oxyg
en transfer rate relative to the conventional bubble column. The production
of pigments using the proposed column was up to 80% higher than that achie
ved using the conventional bubble column.