Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 378–383 | Cite as

Microbial production of propionic acid and vitamin B12 using molasses or sugar

  • A. Quesada-Chanto
  • A. S.-Afschar
  • F. Wagner
Biotechnology Original Paper


With a cell concentration of 125 g dry biomass 1−1 and a dilution rate of 0.1 h−1,Propionibacterium acidipropionici produces 30 g propionic acid 1−1 from sugar with a productivity of 3 g 1−1 h−1. The yield of propionic acid is approx. 0.36–0.45 g propionic acid g−1 sucrose and is independent of the dilution rate and cell concentration. Acetic acid is an unwanted by-product in the production of propionic acid. The concentration of acetic acid only increases slightly when the cell concentration is increased. A two-stage fermentation process was developed for the conversion of sugar or molasses of various types to propionic acid and vitamin B12. By fermentation of blackstrap molasses (from sugar beet and sugar cane) in the first fermentation stage 17.7 g propionic acid 1−1 with a yield of 0.5 g propionic acid g−1 carbohydrate was produced with a dilution rate of 0.25 h−1. In the second stage 49 mg vitamin B12 1−1 was produced at a dilution rate of 0.03 h−1.


Biomass Sugar Sucrose Fermentation Acetic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Quesada-Chanto
    • 1
  • A. S.-Afschar
    • 1
  • F. Wagner
    • 2
  1. 1.GBF — Gessellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbHBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biochemie und BiotechnologieTechnical University of BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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