, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 632-639

Evaluation of solvents for extractive butanol fermentation with Clostridium acetobutylicum and the use of poly(propylene glycol) 1200

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In an effort to improve the viability of acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation by extractive fermentation, 63 organic solvents, including alkanes, alcohols, aldehydes, acids, and esters, were experimentally evaluated for biocompatibility with Clostridium acetobutylicum by observing gas evolution from cultures in contact with candidate solvents. Thirty-one of these solvents were further tested to determine their partition coefficient for butanol in fermentation medium. The biocompatible solvent with the highest partition coefficient for butanol (4.8), was poly(propylene glycol) 1200, which was selected for fermentation experiments. This is the highest partition coefficient reported to date for a biocompatible solvent. Extractive fermentations using concentrated feeds were observed to produce up to 58.6 g·l−1 acetone and butanol in 202 h, the equivalent of three control fermentations in a single run. Product yields (based on total solvent products and glucose consumed) of 0.234 g·g−1 to 0.311 g·g−1 and within run solvent productivities of 0.174 g·l−1·h−1 to 0.290 g·l−1·h−1 were consistentwith conventional fermentations reported in the literature. The extended run-time of the fermentation resulted in an overall improvement in productivity by reducing the fraction of between-run down-time for fermentor cleaning and sterilization.