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

Authors

  • Priscilla A. Selembo,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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  • Joe M. Perez,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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  • Wallis A. Lloyd,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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  • Bruce E. Logan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 212 Sackett Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; telephone: 814-863-7908; fax: 814-863-7304
    • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 212 Sackett Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; telephone: 814-863-7908; fax: 814-863-7304.
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Abstract

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-H2/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-H2/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. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009; 104: 1098–1106. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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