Rhamnolipid is one of the most commonly used biosurfactants with the ability to reduce the surface tension of water from 72 to 30 mN/m. An indigenous isolate Pseudomonas aeruginosa S2 possessing excellent ability to produce rhamnolipid was used as a model strain to explore fermentation technology for rhamnolipid production. Using optimal medium and operating conditions (37°C, pH 6.8, and 250 rpm agitation) obtained from batch fermentation, P. aeruginosa S2 was able to produce up to 5.31 g/l of rhamnolipid from glucose-based medium. To further improve the rhamnolipid yield, a pH-stat fed-batch culture was performed by maintaining a constant pH of 6.8 through manipulating glucose feeding. The effect of influent glucose concentration on rhamnolipid yield and productivity was investigated. Using the pH-stat culture, a maximum rhamnolipid concentration (6.06 g/l) and production rate (172.5 ml/h/l) was obtained with 6% glucose in the feed. Moreover, combining pH-stat culture with fill-and-draw operation allowed a stable repeated fed-batch operation for approximately 500 h. A marked increase in rhamnolipid production was achieved, leading to the best rhamnolipid yield of approximately 9.4 g/l during the second repeated run.
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