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High cell density cultivation of Rhodococcus opacus for lipid production at a pilot-plant scale

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The triacylglycerol (TAG)-accumulating bacterium Rhodococcus opacus strain PD630 was investigated with respect to the fermentative production of TAGs consisting of an unusually high fraction of fatty acids with an odd-number of carbon atoms and unsaturated monoenic fatty acids from sugar beet molasses and sucrose. Fed-batch fermentations were optimized at the 30-l scale in a stirred tank bioreactor at 30°C using a mineral salts medium, which contained sugar beet molasses and sucrose as sole carbon sources. Approximately 37.5 g cell dry matter (CDM) per liter was the highest cell density that was obtained at that scale with a TAG content in the cells of 52%. This fermentative process was also applied to a 500-l pilot-plant scale. Cell densities as high as 18.4 g CDM per liter were obtained, and 42% of the sucrose present in the medium was converted into cell mass which consisted of 38.4% TAGs.

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Received revision: 14 November 2000

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Voss, .I., Steinbüchel, .A. High cell density cultivation of Rhodococcus opacus for lipid production at a pilot-plant scale. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 55, 547–555 (2001).

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