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High cell density cultivation of a novel Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20 in a fed-batch system using glycerol to produce feedstock for biodiesel and omega-3 oils

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 21:48 authored by Lee Chang, KJ, Dumsday, G, Nichols, PD, Dunstan, GA, Blackburn, SI, Anthony KoutoulisAnthony Koutoulis
A recently isolated Australian Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20 was investigated using small-scale (2 L) bioreactors for the potential of co-producing biodiesel and high-value omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Higher initial glucose concentration (100 g/L compared to 40 g/L) did not result in markedly different biomass (48 g/L) or fatty acid (12–14 g/L) yields by 69 h. This comparison suggests factors other than carbon source were limiting biomass production. The effect of both glucose and glycerol as carbon sources for Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20 was evaluated in a fed-batch process. Both glucose and glycerol resulted in similar biomass yields (57 and 56 g/L, respectively) by 69 h. The agro-industrial waste from biodiesel production—glycerol—is a suitable carbon source for Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20. Approximately half the fatty acids from Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20 are suitable for development of sustainable, low emission sources of transportation fuels and bioproducts. To further improve biomass and oil production, fortification of the feed with additional nutrients (nitrogen sources, trace metals and vitamins) improved the biomass yield from 56 g/L (34 % total fatty acids) to 71 g/L (52 % total fatty acids, cell dry weight) at 69 h; these yields are to our knowledge around 70 % of the biomass yields achieved, however, in less than half of the time by other researchers using glycerol and markedly greater than achieved using other industrial wastes. The fast growth and suitable fatty acid profile of this newly isolated Aurantiochytrium sp. strain TC 20 highlights the potential of co-producing the drop-in biodiesel and high value omega-3 oils.


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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology










School of Natural Sciences



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