Enhanced hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol production from glycerol by fermentation using mixed cultures

The conversion of glycerol into high value products, such as hydrogen gas and 1,3-propanediol (PD), was examined using anaerobic fermentation with heat-treated mixed cultures. Glycerol fermentation produced 0.28 mol-H 2/mol-glycerol (72 mL-H2/g-COD) and 0.69 mol-PD/mol-glycerol. Glucose fermentation using the same mixed cultures produced more hydrogen gas (1.06 mol-H2/mol-glucose) but no PD. Changing the source of inoculum affected gas production likely due to prior acclimation of bacteria to this type of substrate. Fermentation of the glycerol produced from biodiesel fuel production (70% glycerol content) produced 0.31 mol-H 2/mol-glycerol (43 mL H2/g-COD) and 0.59 mol-PD/mol-glycerol. These are the highest yields yet reported for both hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol production from pure glycerol and the glycerol byproduct from biodiesel fuel production by fermentation using mixed cultures. These results demonstrate that production of biodiesel can be combined with production of hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol for maximum utilization of resources and minimization of waste. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Selembo PA, Perez JM, Lloyd WA, Logan BE (2009) Enhanced hydrogen and 1,3-propanediol production from glycerol by fermentation using mixed cultures. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 104: 1098–1106. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bit.22487.

The authors thank S. Cheng and D. Jones for assistance with experiments and analysis, and Nittany Biodiesel for providing B-glycerol samples. Special thanks to Dr. Pat Cirino and Jonathan Chin for help with HPLC analysis. This research was supported in part by the Global Research Partnership (GRP) from KAUST University, the General Electric First-Year Faculty for the Future Fellowship and the Arthur and Elizabeth Rose Memorial Fellowship.


Biotechnology and Bioengineering


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