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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 801213, 11 pages
Research Article

Development of Hybrid Models for a Vapor-Phase Fungi Bioreactor

1Istituto di Enologia e Ingegneria Agro-Alimentare, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
2Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Chimica e dei Materiali, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Piazza D’Armi, 09123 Cagliari, Italy

Received 7 December 2014; Accepted 18 May 2015

Academic Editor: Juan A. Almendral

Copyright © 2015 Giorgia Spigno and Stefania Tronci. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study is aimed at the development of a model for an experimental vapour-phase fungi bioreactor, which could be derived in a simple way using the available measurements of a pilot-plant reactor, without the development of ad hoc experiments for the evaluation of fungi kinetics and the estimation of parameters related to biofilm characteristics. The proposed approach is based on hybrid models, obtained by the connection of the mass balance equation (used in traditional phenomenological models) with a feedforward neural network (used in black-box modelling), and the proper use of statistical tools for the model assessment and system understanding. Two different hybrid models were developed and compared by proper performance indexes, and their capability to predict the biological complex phenomena was demonstrated and compared to that of a first-principle model.