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Lipids accumulation in Rhodotorula glutinis and Cryptococcus curvatus growing on distillery wastewater as culture medium

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Oleaginous yeasts R. glutinis and C. curvatus were grown in batch culture on high strength distillery wastewaters from the Tequila production process (Tequila's vinasses). Both strains were able to grow either on decolorized charcoal or on naturally colored regular vinasses, with no extra nutrients addition. After 144 h of culture, lipids were accumulated up to 25.2 ± 1.98 and 27.02 ± 2.36% of cell dry weight, in C. curvatus and R. glutinis, respectively. At the same time, the chemical oxygen demand of vinasses (23,125 ± 5,557) was removed by C. curvatus and R. glutinis up to 78.98 ± 1.38 and 84.44 ± 3.52%, respectively. The fatty acid profile of the lipids accumulated by both strains was composed by myristic, palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic. Linolenic acid was also found but only in the intracellular lipids of R. glutinis. This is the first report of the utilization of Tequila's vinasses for the production of microbial oil by oleaginous yeast. This process could become a strategy to transform this highly contaminant wastewater into value added lipids. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 69–74, 2013.