The conversion of lignocellulosic biomass (LCB) to microbial oils is attracting a growing amount of attention. However, the growth of the oleaginous yeast Rhodotorula glutinis on LCB hydrolysate (mainly rice straw) only will lead to a low lipid mass fraction, in the range of 10-20%. This study shows that the addition of crude glycerol to the LCB hydrolysate medium can efficiently raise the lipid mass fraction to the range of 30-40%. Crude glycerol is a by-product in the biodiesel production process. The use of renewable LCB hydrolysate and crude glycerol would greatly reduce the substrate cost for microbial oil production using R. glutinis. In addition, the results of experiments show that a low-cost airlift bioreactor is a more suitable fermentation process for the growth of R. glutinis than the use of a conventional agitation tank. When using mixed carbon sources of LCB hydrolysate with 30 kg m -3 of reducing sugars and 30 kg m -3 of crude glycerol, a maximal cell mass of 21.4 kg m -3 and lipid mass fraction of 58.5 ± 6.2 were achieved in an internal loop airlift bioreactor, and this process may have the potential to be applied in scale-up production.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Waste Management and Disposal