Regardless of the nature and complexity of the microbial community involved, there are certain fundamental processes that occur universally in biochemical operations. The relative importance of these processes, and hence the outcome from a biochemical operation, depends on the physical configuration of the operation and the manner in which it is operated. Our ability to select and design the appropriate biochemical operation for a specific task depends on our recognition of the importance of the various processes in it and our capability for quantitatively expressing the rates of those processes. In this section we will introduce those processes in qualitative terms: in Chapter 3 we will describe them quantitatively.
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