A two-phase, lactate fermentation by Escherichia coli ALS974 generates succinate and ethanol anaerobically from acetate. These by-products can be minimized by monitoring acetate concentration indirectly with dissolved O2 (DO) during the initial aerobic cell-growth phase. Without DO monitoring, 3 g succinate/l and 1 g ethanol/l were generated while, with monitoring, less than 1 g succinate/l and no detectable ethanol were generated with 130 g lactate/l being produced. Furthermore, using a cell-recycle fermentation with ultrafiltration prolonged the anaerobic lactate production phase from 22 to 34 h, thereby achieving a lactate productivity of 4.2 g/l h, nearly 20% greater than the productivity of the fed-batch process.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of U.S. Department of Agriculture NRI program (2003-35504-13666) and the Georgia Experiment Station. We also thank Ronni Altman and Sarah Lee for technical assistance.
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