Leaves of the plant Plantago lanceolata contain many economically interesting bioactive compounds, among them aucubin and catalpol are the most attractive. However, soluble saccharides passing to water extracts during isolation complicate chromatographic purification of these compounds. Their degradation by microbial cells transforming, for example, glucose, fructose, or sucrose to ethanol could bring important production costs savings and improved final product quality. It has been shown that the best saccharide degradation in extracts is achieved with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. The cells were very active also in their immobilized form and they were able to completely remove glucose from the extract within four hours in a packed bed reactor combined with a stirring system with infinite medium recirculation.
A simple mathematical model involving reaction kinetics and mass transfer limitations in the cell particles was proposed for the evaluation of cell effectiveness in their immobilized form in term of effectiveness factor. Values of the effectiveness factor calculated from the model were far below 1, indicating strong mass transfer limitations of the reaction. The model is suitable for optimization of preparation of immobilized cell particles, mainly from the point of view of cell charge in particles.