Low-cost propionate salt as road deicer: Evaluation of cheese whey and other media constituents

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Propionate and acetate salts are environmentally friendly, effective road deicer substitutes for widely used sodium chloride. A low-cost medium, using raw cheese whey and hydrolyzed whey permeate/whey permeate powder as substrates, and corn-steep liquor as a nutrient supplement, was studied for lactic acid production, replacing synthetic lactose and other high-cost nutrients. A non-sterile stage-I fermentation process for improved lactate productivity using an inexpensive commercial medium was performed at a 20-L fermenter level. A lactate yield of 0.98 g/g lactose and a productivity of 1.1 g/L/h was obtained with complete lactose utilization. When synthetic lactate and glucose were used as substrates in propionate and acetate fermentation, a total acid yield of 0.55 g/g glucose and lactate consumed and a batch productivity of 0.22 g/L/h was obtained. A stage-II fermentation process to produce propionate and acetate salts from cheese whey-derived lactate (stage-I fermentation broth) resulted in 1.6%(w/v) propionate after a total of 161 h (stages I and II).

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