Microbiology and Fermentation

The Microbiology and Fermentation Core is a service facility dedicated to growing microorganisms and processing them for further analysis of cells and sub-cellular components such as proteins, carbohydrates, etc. The facility can cultivate bacteria on scales from milliliters up to 2 x 30 liters at a time. There is equipment for harvesting and breaking cells as well as ultracentrifuges for sub-cellular fractionation, for example to isolate the cell membrane fraction. The facility is directed by Dr. Joel E. Morgan, an experienced research scientist who conducts hands-on training for users.

The facility has three fermentors with working volumes of 30, 30, and 15 liters. In these bioreactors, the culture medium can be sterilized in-place, and during growth, temperature, aeration, agitation, and pH can be actively controlled. The facility has a continuous-flow centrifuge for use with the fermentors. When the two 30 liter fermentors are used to grow the same culture in parallel, cells from the combined 60 liters can be harvested in a single run. For growth of cultures in flasks, the facility has two large refrigerated incubator shakers of which each accommodate up to 12 liters. Smaller incubator shakers are also available for overnight cultures and medium-scale growth. High capacity centrifuges make it possible to harvest cells from up to 6 liters in a single run. The facility has three pieces of equipment to break the harvested cells: a probe-type ultrasonic disruptor or "sonicator" that can work with small volumes (> 1 mL), a French pressure cell, and a Microfluidizer. The facility also has three preparative ultracentrifuges, two with high-capacity rotors, which can be used to collect cell membranes or do other fractionations of the broken cells. For anaerobic work, the facility has an anaerobic glove chamber. There is also an elutriator, which is used to separate living cells by size on a preparative scale. To calibrate and monitor the operation of the elutriator there is a Coulter counter, that can count and measure the sizes of cells. Although the facility is oriented to working with microorganisms, we are happy to work with users with other needs such as using centrifuges or the ultrasonic disruptor to process materials.

Contact Information:
Joel Morgan, Ph.D.
Microbiology and Fermentation Core Director

Rates & Fees
Membership rate is per year and per group ($). The hourly rate for the Full Core is $22, plus additional training. The training rate is per hour.
 RPI UsersExternal NonprofitExternal IndustryExternal Industry Partners
Full Membership$3720$6119$12239$11015
Minor Membership$289$475$951$856
Fermentors - simple$25$41$82$74
Fermentors - complex$62$102$204$184

Guide to Resources

  • Incubator-shakers
  • Anaerobic chamber
  • Bio-reactors (“fermenters”)

  • High capacity “Superspeed” centrifuges and Ultracentrifuges (Sorvall EvolutionRC volumes to 6 liters per spin)
  • Centrifuge for culture tubes and 96-well type plates
  • Continuous-flow harvesting centrifuge for use with bio-reactors (CEPA Z-41)

  • Ultrasonic processor
  • French Pressure Cell
  • Microfluidizer continuous-flow cell disruptor
  • Tissue disruptor: Polytron

  • Large preparative ultracentrifuges (Beckman LE-80K)
  • Tabletop preparative Ultracentrifuge (Beckman Optima TL)

Beckman-Coulter Elutriator system, includes Coulter counter: instrument for counting cells and measuring their size


Microfluidics Model 110S
Microfluidics Model 110S. Continuous-flow breaking/disruption of cells in larger quantities than the French Pressure Cell.
Continuous-Flow Centrifuge for Cell Harvesting
Harvesting of cells grown in fermentors without having to fill bottles.
Separates live cells according to their size using a centrifuge rotor.
New Brunswick Scientific Bio-Flow 4500, and 5000
New Brunswick Scientific Bio-Flow 4500, and 5000. Two 30 liter and one 15 liter fermentors are being used at the Microbiology Core Facility, allowing for 45 l of cell culture being grown at the same time. Subsequent continuous-flow centrifuge allows large scale processing with an enormous time saving.
French Pressure Cell Disruptor
Purification of proteins and other biological molecules. It uses differences in pressure to disrupt the cell membrane. ​​​​​​​ Used for cell volumes between 5 and 25 ml.
Nanodrop UV-vis Spectrophotometer
Convenient and rapid UV-vis measurements with small volumes (2 microliters) without cuvettes. Offers rapid and convenient measurements of proteins, DNA, RNA etc
Beckman-Coulter Z2
Chemical analysis, structure validation, structure determination, quantitave analysis, diffusion analysis
Beckman LE-80K, Beckman Ultima TL, Eppendorf 5810R
Harvesting of cells, separation of sub-cellular components. Centrifuges Eppendorf 5810R refrigerated, 2 Sorvall Evolution; Ultracentrifuges Preparative Ultracentrifuges, Beckman Optima LT bench top centrifuge (2 Beckman Optima LE 80K) with different types of rotors are available. 
New Brunswick Scientific Bio-Flow 4500, and 5000
  • Two New Brunswick Scientific Innova 44R, large size
  • One New Brunswick Scientific Innova 4230, refrigerated, medium size
  • Two New Brunswick Scientific Innova 4000, medium size
Ultrasonic Processor (“Sonicator”)
Probe sonicator, uses high-frequency sound (ultrasound) to disrupt samples. Typically used to disrupt biological cells and release contents for further processing.

Required Acknowledgement and Authorship

Please acknowledge the CBIS Core Facilities in all publications and grant applications where our equipment and/or personnel have facilitated the work. These acknowledgements are very important because documenting our contributions helps to ensure that the resources of the Core Facilities are sustainable.

  • Equipment: If you used Core Facility equipment, please note this in the Materials and Methods. e.g., Thermogravimetric analysis was carried out using a TA Instruments TGA-Q50 (Rensselaer CBIS Analytical Biochemistry Core Facility).
  • Personnel: Please consider including CBIS personnel as co-authors on your publications when they have made a significant intellectual contribution to the research. Include CBIS Core Facility directors or staff as co-PI or co-investigators in grant applications when they provide a significant contribution to the grant proposal and scientific/intellectual leadership for the proposed work. Please follow these guidelines: ABRF Recommended Guidelines for Authorship on Manuscripts. Also, our Core Facility personnel always appreciate when they are mentioned in the Acknowledgements section of publications.
  • Required Funding Authorization Form: Rensselaer researchers must fill out the CBIS Cores Authorization Form (PDF) to use the CBIS Core Facilities.
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