Engineered catalytic biofilms for continuous large scale production of n-octanol and (S)-styrene oxide

Authors

  • Rainer Gross,

    1. Laboratory of Chemical Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, Technische Universität Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 66, Dortmund 44221, Germany; telephone: +49-231-7557385; fax: +49-231-7557382
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Katja Buehler,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Chemical Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, Technische Universität Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 66, Dortmund 44221, Germany; telephone: +49-231-7557385; fax: +49-231-7557382
    • Laboratory of Chemical Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, Technische Universität Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 66, Dortmund 44221, Germany; telephone: +49-231-7557385; fax: +49-231-7557382.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andreas Schmid

    1. Laboratory of Chemical Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, Technische Universität Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 66, Dortmund 44221, Germany; telephone: +49-231-7557385; fax: +49-231-7557382
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This study evaluates the technical feasibility of biofilm-based biotransformations at an industrial scale by theoretically designing a process employing membrane fiber modules as being used in the chemical industry and compares the respective process parameters to classical stirred-tank studies. To our knowledge, catalytic biofilm processes for fine chemicals production have so far not been reported on a technical scale. As model reactions, we applied the previously studied asymmetric styrene epoxidation employing Pseudomonas sp. strain VLB120ΔC biofilms and the here-described selective alkane hydroxylation. Using the non-heme iron containing alkane hydroxylase system (AlkBGT) from P. putida Gpo1 in the recombinant P. putida PpS81 pBT10 biofilm, we were able to continuously produce 1-octanol from octane with a maximal productivity of 1.3 g Lmath image day−1 in a single tube micro reactor. For a possible industrial application, a cylindrical membrane fiber module packed with 84,000 polypropylene fibers is proposed. Based on the here presented calculations, 59 membrane fiber modules (of 0.9 m diameter and 2 m length) would be feasible to realize a production process of 1,000 tons/year for styrene oxide. Moreover, the product yield on carbon can at least be doubled and over 400-fold less biomass waste would be generated compared to classical stirred-tank reactor processes. For the octanol process, instead, further intensification in biological activity and/or surface membrane enlargement is required to reach production scale. By taking into consideration challenges such as biomass growth control and maintaining a constant biological activity, this study shows that a biofilm process at an industrial scale for the production of fine chemicals is a sustainable alternative in terms of product yield and biomass waste production. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 424–436. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary