Temperature is an important parameter in bioprocesses, influencing the structure and functionality of almost every biomolecule, as well as affecting metabolic reaction rates. In industrial biotechnology, the temperature is usually tightly controlled at an optimum value. Smart variation of the temperature to optimize the performance of a bioprocess brings about multiple complex and interconnected metabolic changes and is so far only rarely applied. Mathematical descriptions and models facilitate a reduction in complexity, as well as an understanding, of these interconnections. Starting in the 19th century with the “primal” temperature model of Svante Arrhenius, a variety of models have evolved over time to describe growth and enzymatic reaction rates as functions of temperature. Data-driven empirical approaches, as well as complex mechanistic models based on thermodynamic knowledge of biomolecular behavior at different temperatures, have been developed. Even though underlying biological mechanisms and mathematical models have been well-described, temperature as a control variable is only scarcely applied in bioprocess engineering, and as a conclusion, an exploitation strategy merging both in context has not yet been established. In this review, the most important models for physiological, biochemical, and physical properties governed by temperature are presented and discussed, along with application perspectives. As such, this review provides a toolset for future exploitation perspectives of temperature in bioprocess engineering.
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