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Bioresour Technol. 2009 Jan;100(1):356-61. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2008.05.030. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

The effect of glycerol as a sole and secondary substrate on the growth and fatty acid composition of Rhodotorula glutinis.

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Dave C Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University, MS 39762, USA.


Rhodotorula glutinis is a yeast that produces copious quantities of lipids in the form of triacylglycerols (TAG) and can be used to make biodiesel via a transesterification process. The ester bonds in the TAG are broken leaving behind two products: fatty acid methyl esters and glycerol that could provide an inexpensive carbon source to grow oleaginous yeast R. glutinis. Described here are the effects of different growth substrates on TAG accumulation and fatty acids produced by R. glutinis. Yeast cultured 24h on medium containing dextrose, xylose, glycerol, dextrose and xylose, xylose and glycerol, or dextrose and glycerol accumulated 16, 12, 25, 10, 21, and 34% TAG on a dry weight basis, respectively. Lipids were extracted from R. glutinis culture and transesterified to form fatty acid methyl esters. The results show a difference in the degree of saturation for the carbon sources tested. Cells cultivated on glycerol alone had the highest degree of unsaturated fatty acids at 53% while xylose had the lowest at 25%. R. glutinis can be cultivated on all sugars tested as single carbon substrates or in mixtures. Glycerol may be used as secondary or primary carbon substrate.

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