Production of the potent antibiotic teicoplanin by Actinoplanes teichomyceticus was studied in batch and in chemostat cultures. It is found that the producing strain deactivates to a non-producing strain named NP-12. This strain is used to find the growth kinetics of the A. teichomyceticus without interference from the product teicoplanin. In batch experiments with NP-12 grown on glucose at different initial concentrations and with different added amounts of teicoplanin, the strong inhibitory effect of teicoplanin was determined. These results obtained on NP-12 were validated in a series of chemostat experiments with the processing strain. All experiments in batch and in chemostat cultures were well represented by Monod kinetics with respect to the carbon and energy source (glucose) and with a substantial inhibitory effect of teicoplanin. Further experiments were made with the producing strain in a continuous reactor coupled to a microfilter that delivers a cell-free permeate. It was found that the derived kinetics almost exactly simulated the behavior of the cell recirculation reactor in addition to when the cell concentration in the reactor was more than four times higher than in the chemostat. For industrial production of teicoplanin, a continuous reactor with cell recirculation and working with a low effluent glucose concentration was by far the best mode of operation. Finally, the deactivation of the producing strain to NP-12 was modeled by a two-step deactivation mechanism. Deactivation was independent of dilution rate but dependendest on the inoculum preparation and on the previous history of the inoculum. (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Inc.