Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Palm oil waste put to work

Date:
November 20, 2013
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
A recently isolated bacterial strain converts waste from palm oil production into industrially useful lactic acid.

Microscopic image of the newly isolated bacterial strain Bacillus coagulans JI12 (magnification: x 400)
Credit: Copyright : 2013 A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences

A recently isolated bacterial strain converts waste from palm oil production into industrially useful lactic acid.

Southeast Asia produces over 80% of the world’s palm oil. Extraction of this oil generates copious amounts of the lignocellulose-rich by-product known as empty fruit bunch (EFB). This precious resource is largely wasted at present, being either burned or left to mulch on the ground. Jin Chuan Wu at the A*STAR Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences and co‐workers in Singapore have now identified bacteria that turn EFB into the industrially important chemical L-lactic acid.

“Optically pure L-lactic acid is currently produced from starchy materials such as cornstarch,” says Wu. As such, the process uses a food resource and the production cost is high.

Wu believes that the lack of cost-effective processes has also prevented the commercial production of lactic acid from agricultural waste. Most microbes struggle to digest all of the different sugars in EFB, which must be utilized for the process to be cost effective, he explains.

To find the bacterial strain, Wu and co-workers collected soil samples from natural parklands, wetlands and gardens across Singapore. They then grew colonies of the bacteria found in the samples and cultivated them in the presence of the two main sugars found in EFB: xylose and glucose. Next, the researchers selected the strain that produced the most L-lactic acid from both sugar types. “We obtained the most effective strain from the soil samples collected at Jurong Island,” says Wu, referring to the Bacillus coagulans JI12 strain (see image).

Wu’s team found that 50 °C was the optimal temperature for producing lactic acid from xylose and glucose using B. coagulans JI12, whereas the Lactobacillus species normally used for this purpose requires lower temperatures. The higher temperature eliminated some contamination issues, Wu notes, as contaminant microbes do not grow well at this elevated temperature.

Wu and co-workers showed that B. coagulans JI12 could convert EFB — which was hydrolyzed using a procedure they developed in 20122 — to lactic acid with yields of up to 97%. “The excellent performance of B. coagulans JI12 makes it a very promising strain for industrial production of L-lactic acid from lignocellulosic biomass,” says Wu.

The team is now planning to use genetic engineering to improve the acid tolerance of the newly identified bacterial strain. The potential improvement should allow the fermentation to be conducted at a pH lower than 6.0, thus reducing the amount of downstream processing required and further cutting costs. Wu and his team also recently improved the acid tolerance of another strain of lactic-acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus pentosus3.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Lidan Ye, Mohammad Sufian Bin Hudari, Xingding Zhou, Dongxu Zhang, Zhi Li, Jin Chuan Wu. Conversion of acid hydrolysate of oil palm empty fruit bunch to L-lactic acid by newly isolated Bacillus coagulans JI12. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2013; 97 (11): 4831 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-013-4788-y
  2. Dongxu Zhang, Yee Ling Ong, Zhi Li, Jin Chuan Wu. Optimization of dilute acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of oil palm empty fruit bunch for high yield production of xylose. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2012; 181-182: 636 DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2011.12.030
  3. Lidan Ye, Hua Zhao, Zhi Li, Jin Chuan Wu. Improved acid tolerance of Lactobacillus pentosus by error-prone whole genome amplification. Bioresource Technology, 2013; 135: 459 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.10.042

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Palm oil waste put to work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120103442.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2013, November 20). Palm oil waste put to work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120103442.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Palm oil waste put to work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120103442.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins