Erythritol production byMoniliella megachiliensisusing nonrefined glycerol waste as carbon source


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Abstract

The number of naphtha plants is being reduced due to a worldwide shift in energy sources. Consequently, a shortage of chemical materials heavily dependent on naphtha-oil, especially C4 compounds such as butene and butane-diol, is an urgent issue in chemical manufacturing. Erythritol is a rare C4 compound produced by fermentation processes using glucose as the carbon source. Since erythritol is considerably more expensive than hydrocarbons derived from naphtha-oil, a reduction in its cost is critical. We found that Moniliella megachiliensis, a highly osmotolerant yeast strain, can utilize nonrefined glycerol waste derived from palm oil or beef tallow and convert it to erythritol. Cell growth on glycerol was almost the same as on glucose, and the cells could grow in up to 300 mg ml−1 glycerol. When 200 mg ml−1 nonrefined glycerol was supplied, the yield of erythritol from the glycerol was approx. 60%, which is slightly higher than that obtained using glucose. The cost of glycerol waste is considerably lower than that of glucose. Thus, the conversion of glycerol waste into valuable erythritol, proposed here, is attractive and promising from the viewpoint of ensuring a supply of C4 hydrocarbons and utilizing a waste natural resource.

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