Reconfiguring workup steps in multi-cycle extractive bioconversion for sustainable fatty alcohol production: a process engineering approach†
In situ extraction offers an effective way to recover products during microbial production of fatty alcohols, which can be operated in multi-cycle mode. Workup steps may be required to increase the driving force for the extraction or to minimize by-product accumulation. Different workup steps, including intermittent glucose addition, dodecane change, and buffer change, were investigated in this study. We demonstrated that reconfiguration of these workup steps (e.g. rare intermittent workup steps) between bioconversion cycles led to significantly improved productivity and sustainability. The optimized reconfiguration enhanced the yield (0.071 g fatty alcohol per g glucose) while reducing the E-factor to 34.98, which was 120-fold lower than that of the control condition without in situ extraction. The results from this work shed light on the sustainable process development of the fatty alcohol production.