Acetic acid, butanol, butyric acid, ethanol, and propanediol from glycerol

January 28, 2011 |

In Alabama, a University of Alabama Huntsville graduate student is  is using Clostridium pasteurianum bacteria to ferment glycerol, a biodiesel waste product, into acetic acid, butanol, butyric acid, ethanol, and propanediol. Keerthi Venkataramanan, a Ph.D. biotechnology student, notes that glycerol disposal is problem for the biodiesel industry.   Glycerol is produced at a rate of one gallon for every 10 gallons of animal fat or vegetable oil based biodiesel.  With the strains in hand, Venkataramanan can convert between 30 and 35% of the glycerol into butanol and 25 to 35% into a chemical that can be used to make plastics.  The National Science Foundation is funding Venkataramanan’s work.

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Category: Research

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