Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

BOC Sciences provides solid state fermentation to support the production of a wide range of microbial secondary metabolites, such as peptides, polyketides, terpenes, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, organic acids, phenolic compounds, aromas, pigments, biosorbents, and many others. Based on our proven biological processes and expertise in microbial fermentation, we are able to perform GMP-compliant microbial production. We utilize SSF, a promising approach, to meet the needs of our customers in various industrial fields for chemicals or biochemicals productions.

BOC Sciences has invented microbial fermentation platforms that provide strain development, fermentation process optimization, GARS services, and other fermentation CDMO services. These platforms are dedicated to providing our customers with optimized customized services, high-quality products, and professional consulting for microbial fermentation projects.

Introduction of Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

Solid state fermentation (SSF) refers to microbial fermentation that takes place in the absence or nearly absence of free water and mimics the natural environment to which selected microorganisms are naturally adapted. SSF involves the presence of porous solid substrates that support the growth of microorganisms with a continuous gas phase. The natural habitats for these microorganisms are solid materials such as plant and rock surfaces, soil, and decomposing organic matter such as leaves, bark, and wood. In recent years, SSF has been widely used in the biotechnology industry and is considered a promising bioprocess for the production of biologically active secondary metabolites with potential applications in industrial chemicals, pharmaceutical products, food, fuel, agricultural, and animal feed bioproducts.

Microbial secondary metabolites are intermediates or products of the fermentation process produced during the stationary phase without directly participating in organisms' normal growth and development. These metabolites find applications in pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, etc. Moreover, the growth condition in SSF mimics the microorganisms' native environment, allowing the microorganisms to adapt best and even obtain impressive yields of secondary metabolites.

Advantages of Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

  • Solid culture substrates: Solid medium is the natural habitat of numerous microorganisms, especially fungi. Substrates can be originated from agricultural wastes that serve not only as physical support but also as a source of carbon and energy.
  • High productivity: The natural environment of microorganisms can be best reproduced by using SSF and is involved with various biotechnological advantages such as upregulated fermentation productivity, final product concentration, and product stability.
  • Low production expenses: Compared to submerged fermentation processes, SSF is almost water-free, resulting in decreased wastewater-treatment costs, energy consumption, and demand on sterility.

Application of Solid State Fermentation (SSF)

  • Solid-state fermentation (SSF) has emerged as an attractive alternative to submerged fermentation. SSF can be utilized to produce desired products in industrial applications, such as bioactive secondary metabolites, which include antibiotics, alkaloids, plant growth factors, organic acids, biopesticides, biosurfactants, biofuel, aroma compounds, etc.
  • SSF is well suited for the production of various enzyme complexes composed of multiple enzymes, in addition to traditional food production. These enzymes are widely used in various industries, such as animal feed, biofuel, brewing, etc. The low water volume in SSF has a large impact on the overall process economy, referring to smaller size bioreactors, reduced downstream processing, and lower sterilization costs.
  • SSF is capable of producing valuable products from residual agro-industrial biomass. These residues not only afford alternative substrates but can also directly serve agriculture due to their use in the production of biofungicides, biopesticides, biofertilizers, plant growth hormones, etc.

What Can We Do?

Solid state fermentation (SSF) has advantages such as higher fermentation productivity, lower production cost, and cultivation of various fungi, albeit mostly on a laboratory scale. Meanwhile, metabolite production scale-up is one of the challenges SSF confronts. With the utilization of the novel bioreactor and optimization of fermentation processes, BOC Sciences can support large-scale fermentation by using the SSF method to accelerate the commercialization of our customers' projects.


  1. Kumar, V., et al. Recent developments on solid-state fermentation for production of microbial secondary metabolites: Challenges and solutions, Bioresour. Technol., 2021, 323.
  2. Singhania, R. R., et al. Recent advances in solid-state fermentation, Biochem. Eng. J., 2009, 44, 13-18.
  3. Vandenberghe, L. P. S., et al. Solid-state fermentation technology and innovation for the production of agricultural and animal feed bioproducts, Syst. Appl. Microbiol., 2021, 1, 142-165.

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