Microbial oil production by the oleaginous red yeast, Rhodotorula glutinis NCIM 3168, using corncob hydrolysate

Abstract

Corncob waste management has become a concern for corn producers worldwide. Agricultural waste-based energy generation is, therefore, extensively researched these days. However, the calorific potential of the moist corncobs still remains untapped due to the lack of technological advancements. In this study, a dilute acid pre-treatment followed with enzymatic hydrolysis was used to recover 80% of the fermentable sugars from the corncobs. When used for microbial oil production in a two-stage fermentation, this enzymatic hydrolysate resulted in a lipid production of more than 75% dried cell weight (DCW) in Rhodotorula glutinis. Extracellular oil capture in this two-stage fermentation further increased the total oil production to 8 g L−1 and 80% DCW. An oleic acid-rich microbial oil profile obtained from this process exhibited excellent biofuel properties. The energy content of the microbial oil valued 40 MJ kg−1, and was found to be 2.35 times higher than the intrinsic heating capacity of corncobs. Thus, a sustainable bioprocess for corncob waste remediation was devised to obtain vegetable oil equivalent through a microbial conversion platform.

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Data availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Abbreviations

ASTM:

American Standard for Testing Material

CFPP:

cold filter plugging point

CN:

cetane number

C/N:

ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the media

CV:

calorific value

DCW:

dry cell weight

FAME:

fatty acid methyl esters

HHV:

high heating value

IV:

iodine value

KV:

kinematic viscosity

LCSF:

long-chain saturation factor

LLE:

liquid-liquid extraction

MUFA:

monounsaturated fatty acid

OCA:

oil capturing agent

PUFA:

polyunsaturated fatty acid

RPR:

residue production ratio

SV:

saponification value

TAG:

triacylglycerol

vvm:

volume per volume per minute

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (formerly U.D.C.T., Mumbai), and DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences for providing infrastructure for carrying this research work.

Funding

DVR and PPP gratefully acknowledge the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences, Mumbai, for their fellowships. The authors are thankful to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for financial support (Project grant No.: BT/EB/ICT-Extension/2012, 05/06/2013).

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Correspondence to Annamma Anil Odaneth.

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Rane, D.V., Pawar, P.P., Odaneth, A.A. et al. Microbial oil production by the oleaginous red yeast, Rhodotorula glutinis NCIM 3168, using corncob hydrolysate. Biomass Conv. Bioref. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13399-021-01298-z

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Keywords

  • Rhodotorula glutinis
  • Microbial oil
  • Two-stage production
  • Corncob hydrolysate
  • Extractive fermentation