Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Coupled Lactic Acid Fermentation and Adsorption

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2002


Polyvinylpyridine (PVP) and activated carbon were evaluated for coupled lactic acid fermentation and adsorption, to prevent the product concentration from reaching inhibitory levels. The lactic acid production doubled as a result of periodical circulation of the fermentation broth through a PVP adsorption column. The adsorbent was then regenerated and the adsorbed lactate harvested, by passing 0.1 N NaOH through the column. However, each adsorption–regeneration cycle caused about 14% loss of the adsorption capacity, thus limiting the practical use of this rather expensive adsorbent. Activated carbon was found much more effective than PVP in lactic acid and lactate adsorption. The cells of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii (LDD) also had strong tendency to adsorb on the carbon. A study was therefore conducted using an activated carbon column for simultaneous cell immobilization and lactate adsorption, in a semi-batch process with periodical medium replacement. The process produced lactate steadily at about 1.3 g l–1 h–1 when the replacement medium contained at least 2 g l–1 of yeast extract. The production, however, stopped after switching to a medium without yeast extract. Active lactic acid production by LDD appeared to require yeast extract above a certain critical level (<2 g l–1).





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