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Upgrading syngas fermentation effluent using Clostridium kluyveri in a continuous fermentation

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Abstract
Background: The product of current syngas fermentation systems is an ethanol/acetic acid mixture and the goal is to maximize ethanol recovery. However, ethanol currently has a relatively low market value and its separation from the fermentation broth is energy intensive. We can circumvent these disadvantages of ethanol production by converting the dilute ethanol/acetic acid mixture into products with longer carbon backbones, which are of higher value and are more easily extracted than ethanol. Chain elongation, which is the bioprocess in which ethanol is used to elongate short-chain carboxylic acids to medium-chain carboxylic acids (MCCAs), has been studied with pure cultures and open cultures of microbial consortia (microbiomes) with several different substrates. While upgrading syngas fermentation effluent has been studied with open cultures, to our knowledge, no study exists that has performed this with pure cultures. Results: Here, pure cultures of Clostridium kluyveri were used in continuous bioreactors to convert ethanol/acetic acid mixtures into MCCAs. Besides changing the operating conditions in regards to substrate loading rates and composition, the effect of in-line product extraction, pH, and the use of real syngas fermentation effluent on production rates were tested. Increasing the organic loading rates resulted in proportionally higher production rates of n-caproic acid, which were up to 40 mM day(-1) (4.64 g L-1 day(-1)) at carbon conversion efficiencies of 90% or higher. The production rates were similar for bioreactors with and without in-line product extraction. Furthermore, a lower ethanol/acetic acid ratio (3: 1 instead of 10: 1) enabled faster and more efficient n-caproic acid production. In addition, n-caprylic acid production was observed for the first time with C. kluyveri (up to 2.19 +/- 0.34 mM in batch). Finally, the use of real effluent from syngas fermentation, without added yeast extract, but with added defined growth factors, did maintain similar production rates. Throughout the operating period, we observed that the metabolism of C. kluyveri was inhibited at a mildly acidic pH value of 5.5 compared to a pH value of 7.0, while reactor microbiomes perform successfully at mildly acidic conditions. Conclusions: Clostridium kluyveri can be used as a biocatalyst to upgrade syngas fermentation effluent into MCCAs at pH values above 5.5.
Keywords
Chain elongation, Carboxylate platform, Syngas fermentation, Carboxylic acids, n-Caproic acid, n-Caprylic acid, UPFLOW ANAEROBIC FILTER, CAPROIC ACID PRODUCTION, CHAIN ELONGATION, REACTOR MICROBIOMES, DILUTE ETHANOL, CARBOXYLATE PLATFORM, YEAST-FERMENTATION, CONTINUOUS-CULTURE, GAS FERMENTATION, N-CAPROATE

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Chicago
Gildemyn, Sylvia, Bastian Molitor, Joseph G Usack, Mytien Nguyen, Korneel Rabaey, and Largus T Angenent. 2017. “Upgrading Syngas Fermentation Effluent Using Clostridium Kluyveri in a Continuous Fermentation.” Biotechnology for Biofuels 10.
APA
Gildemyn, S., Molitor, B., Usack, J. G., Nguyen, M., Rabaey, K., & Angenent, L. T. (2017). Upgrading syngas fermentation effluent using Clostridium kluyveri in a continuous fermentation. BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS, 10.
Vancouver
1.
Gildemyn S, Molitor B, Usack JG, Nguyen M, Rabaey K, Angenent LT. Upgrading syngas fermentation effluent using Clostridium kluyveri in a continuous fermentation. BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS. 2017;10.
MLA
Gildemyn, Sylvia et al. “Upgrading Syngas Fermentation Effluent Using Clostridium Kluyveri in a Continuous Fermentation.” BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS 10 (2017): n. pag. Print.
@article{8521092,
  abstract     = {Background: The product of current syngas fermentation systems is an ethanol/acetic acid mixture and the goal is to maximize ethanol recovery. However, ethanol currently has a relatively low market value and its separation from the fermentation broth is energy intensive. We can circumvent these disadvantages of ethanol production by converting the dilute ethanol/acetic acid mixture into products with longer carbon backbones, which are of higher value and are more easily extracted than ethanol. Chain elongation, which is the bioprocess in which ethanol is used to elongate short-chain carboxylic acids to medium-chain carboxylic acids (MCCAs), has been studied with pure cultures and open cultures of microbial consortia (microbiomes) with several different substrates. While upgrading syngas fermentation effluent has been studied with open cultures, to our knowledge, no study exists that has performed this with pure cultures. 
Results: Here, pure cultures of Clostridium kluyveri were used in continuous bioreactors to convert ethanol/acetic acid mixtures into MCCAs. Besides changing the operating conditions in regards to substrate loading rates and composition, the effect of in-line product extraction, pH, and the use of real syngas fermentation effluent on production rates were tested. Increasing the organic loading rates resulted in proportionally higher production rates of n-caproic acid, which were up to 40 mM day(-1) (4.64 g L-1 day(-1)) at carbon conversion efficiencies of 90% or higher. The production rates were similar for bioreactors with and without in-line product extraction. Furthermore, a lower ethanol/acetic acid ratio (3: 1 instead of 10: 1) enabled faster and more efficient n-caproic acid production. In addition, n-caprylic acid production was observed for the first time with C. kluyveri (up to 2.19 +/- 0.34 mM in batch). Finally, the use of real effluent from syngas fermentation, without added yeast extract, but with added defined growth factors, did maintain similar production rates. Throughout the operating period, we observed that the metabolism of C. kluyveri was inhibited at a mildly acidic pH value of 5.5 compared to a pH value of 7.0, while reactor microbiomes perform successfully at mildly acidic conditions. 
Conclusions: Clostridium kluyveri can be used as a biocatalyst to upgrade syngas fermentation effluent into MCCAs at pH values above 5.5.},
  articleno    = {83},
  author       = {Gildemyn, Sylvia and Molitor, Bastian and Usack, Joseph G and Nguyen, Mytien and Rabaey, Korneel and Angenent, Largus T},
  issn         = {1754-6834},
  journal      = {BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIOFUELS},
  keywords     = {Chain elongation,Carboxylate platform,Syngas fermentation,Carboxylic acids,n-Caproic acid,n-Caprylic acid,UPFLOW ANAEROBIC FILTER,CAPROIC ACID PRODUCTION,CHAIN ELONGATION,REACTOR MICROBIOMES,DILUTE ETHANOL,CARBOXYLATE PLATFORM,YEAST-FERMENTATION,CONTINUOUS-CULTURE,GAS FERMENTATION,N-CAPROATE},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {15},
  title        = {Upgrading syngas fermentation effluent using Clostridium kluyveri in a continuous fermentation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13068-017-0764-6},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2017},
}

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