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Keywords:

  • Fermentation;
  • lipids;
  • biodiesel;
  • sewage sludge;
  • lignocellulose;
  • mathematical modeling

The co-fermentation of glucose and xylose by activated sludge microorganisms for the production of microbial oils for use as biodiesel feedstock was investigated. Various carbon sources at initial concentration of 60 g/L and C:N ratio 70:1 were investigated: xylose, glucose, and 2:1 and 1:2 (by mass) glucose/xylose mixtures. Oil accumulation ranged between 12 to 22% CDW, the highest of which was obtained when xylose was the sole substrate used. Kinetic modeling of the fermentation data showed that specific growth and oil accumulation rates were similar in all substrate types and the lipid coefficient ranged from 0.02 to 0.06 g/g of sugar consumed. The fatty acid methyl ester yield and composition of the lipids showed their suitability for conversion to biodiesel. Based on the results, lignocellulose sugars could be used as fermentation substrates by activated sludge microorganisms for enhancing the oil content of sewage sludge for its use as a sustainable biofuel feedstock source. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 4036–4044, 2013