Applicability of pectate-entrapped Lactobacillus casei cells for l(+) lactic acid production from whey
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Lactic acid is a versatile organic acid, which finds major application in the food, pharmaceuticals, and chemical industries. Microbial fermentation has the advantage that by choosing a strain of lactic acid bacteria producing only one of the isomers, an optically pure product can be obtained. The production of l(+) lactic acid is of significant importance from nutritional viewpoint and finds greater use in food industry. In view of economic significance of immobilization technology over the free-cell system, immobilized preparation of Lactobacillus casei was employed in the present investigation to produce l(+) lactic acid from whey medium. The process conditions for the immobilization of this bacterium using calcium pectate gel were optimized, and the developed cell system was found stable during whey fermentation to lactic acid. A high lactose conversion (94.37%) to lactic acid (32.95 g/l) was achieved with the developed immobilized system. The long-term viability of the pectate-entrapped bacterial cells was tested by reusing the immobilized bacterial biomass, and the entrapped bacterial cells showed no decrease in lactose conversion to lactic acid up to 16 batches, which proved its high stability and potential for commercial application.
KeywordsWhey Lactic acid Lactose utilization Immobilization Pectate gel L. casei
Dr. Parmjit S. Panesar acknowledges the support from the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, for the award of a BOYSCAST fellowship. The authors are grateful to Visualisation and Imaging Network (VIN), UK, and National Bank for Industrial Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Bulgaria for providing L. casei strain.
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