Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 45–52 | Cite as

Biotransformation of Waste Glycerol from Biodiesel Industry in Carotenoids Compounds by Halophilic Microorganisms

  • Simona Neagu
  • Roxana Cojoc
  • Mirela Enache
  • Oana Catalina Mocioiu
  • Aurica Precupas
  • Vlad Tudor Popa
  • Ioana Gomoiu
  • Madalin EnacheEmail author
Original Paper



One of the main by-products resulted from the biodiesel industry is represented by waste glycerol which is known as a mixture between glycerol and various salts, soaps, fatty acids and other chemical compounds. This composition makes it very difficult to be used in other domains and the large amounts in which it is obtained raise storage and environmental problems. Within this framework, its bioconversion to other products by several microorganisms could be regarded as a most valuable and convenient alternative. In this work, the transformation of waste glycerol to carotenoid compounds, namely phytoene and β-carotene by several wild strains of halophilic microorganisms isolated from a saline lake is presented.


The structures of the investigated carotenes were analysed by FT-IR and UV–Vis spectrometry while differential scanning microcalorimetry (μDSC) evaluated the thermal behaviour of the methanol solution of the pigments obtained from microbial cultures. The growth of microorganisms was estimated by measuring optical density at 660 nm using a BMG LABTECH FLUOstar Omega microplate reader and carotenes were extracted with methanol.

Results and Conclusions

The data recorded until now revealed that the presence of waste glycerol from several sources in the composition of culture medium resulted in growing of phytoene content. These compounds are known as precursors for obtaining other carotenoid compounds either in natural synthesis or in chemical industry. In case of β-carotene, the preliminary results revealed a slow decrease of its content in the presence of waste glycerol as a major growth substrate. The presence of waste glycerol in culture medium leads to thermograms for pigments’ methanol solutions with larger thermal effects than those obtained in the absence of waste glycerol. The absorption spectra of the pigments isolated form strains LD2 and LN1-10 display a typical shape for carotenoids in the 400–500 nm wavelength range and for phytoene in the 250–300 nm wavelength range. The absorption spectra of the strains LN4-1, LC37 and LN2-5 indicate the presence of phytoene and the absence of carotenoids.


Waste glycerol Carotenes Halophilic microorganisms Salt lake Letea 



This work was supported by Program Partnerships in Priority Domains – PN II developed with the support of MEN-UEFISCDI, Project No. 273/2014, Project PED 2016 - 1395 and 323/2014 and also the Project No. RO1567-IBB02/2017 from the Institute of Biology Bucharest of Romanian Academy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biology Bucharest of the Romanian AcademyBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Institute of Physical Chemistry “Ilie Murgulescu” of the Romanian AcademyBucharestRomania
  3. 3.National University of ArtsBucharestRomania

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