Submitted to: United States Japan Natural Resources Protein Panel
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2003
Publication Date: November 9, 2003
Citation: Ashby, R.D., Nunez, A., Solaiman, D., Foglia, T.A. 2003. Synthesis of biopolymers and biosurfactants from glycerol and glycerol-based waste streams. In: Proceedings of United States-Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources, Protein Resources Panel, November 9-15, 2003, Tsukuba, Japan. p. 269-278. Technical Abstract: Animal fats and vegetable oils are continuing to find new markets. One such market is in biodiesel production where triacylglycerols (TAGs) are either enzymatically or chemically transesterified to produce fatty acid alkyl esters, which can be used as substitutes or additives for petrochemical-based diesel. As biodiesel production rises, increased quantities of glycerol and/or a glycerol-based co-product stream are produced that have potential as renewable feedstocks for the fermentative production of biobased products. Over the past few years we have been particularly interested in the synthesis of bacterially derived biopolyesters (i.e., poly(hydroxyalkanoates); PHAs) and sophorolipids (SLs), a class of biosurfactants synthesized by the yeast Candida bombicola. In the past, numerous papers have been written concerning the production of both PHA and SL from TAGs and free fatty acids. However, the other hydrolysis product (i.e., glycerol) has largely been ignored as a potential substrate for biosynthesis. In this paper, we present an overview of our work on the use of glycerol and the glycerol-rich co-product stream of biodiesel production as sources for the synthesis of both PHA and SL.