Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Production of Arabitol from Glycerol: Strain Screening and Study of Factors Affecting Production Yield

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Fall 2011


Glycerol is a major by-product from biodiesel production, and developing new uses for glycerol is imperative to overall economics and sustainability of the biodiesel industry. With the aim of producing xylitol and/or arabitol as the value-added products from glycerol, 214 yeast strains, many osmotolerant, were first screened in this study. No strains were found to produce large amounts of xylitol as the dominant metabolite. Some produced polyol mixtures that might present difficulties to downstream separation and purification. Several Debaryomyces hansenii strains produced arabitol as the predominant metabolite with high yields, and D. hansenii strain SBP-1 (NRRL Y-7483) was chosen for further study on the effects of several growth conditions. The optimal temperature was found to be 30°C. Very low dissolved oxygen concentrations or anaerobic conditions inhibited polyol yields. Arabitol yield improved with increasing initial glycerol concentrations, reaching approximately 50% (w/w) with 150 g/L initial glycerol. However, the osmotic stress created by high salt concentrations (≥50 g/L) negatively affected arabitol production. Addition of glucose and xylose improved arabitol production while addition of sorbitol reduced production. Results from this work show that arabitol is a promising value-added product from glycerol using D. hansenii SBP-1 as the producing strain.





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