Project

Impact of in-line product extraction on microbiome and performance of carboxylate platform fermentations

Duration
01 October 2015 → 30 September 2018
Funding
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Microbiology
    • Systems biology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
 
Project description

The depletion of fossil resources is driving the development of new chemical production process based on renewable feedstocks. The carboxylate platform allows the conversion of industrial and agricultural organic wastes to short- and mid-chain carboxylates as intermediate feedstock chemicals. Organic acids are first hydrolyzed and fermented to short-chain organic acids, which can be subsequently converted to mid-chain fatty acids. These sequential reactions are carried out by different microbial groups. High concentrations of organic acids inhibit the microbiome and limit the production. The extraction of products reduces toxicity and enhances process conversion rates. Membrane electrolysis has been recently postulated as a promising and inexpensive technology to extract and concentrate ionic products from fermentation broths. However, the separation is not selective and all organic acids present in the fermentation broth may be extracted. An important interplay exists between the platform's microbial communities and the conditions under which they operate. Production of mid-chain acids can only occur if acetate and/or ethanol are present in the mixed liquor. If these are extracted, production of mid-chain fatty acids may be compromised. Besides, this may have an impact on the fermenter community. This project aims to understand how the microbial community responds to operational changes linked with in-line product extraction, and its impact on process performance