(63n) Oil Production for Biofuels Via Wastewater Treatment
In the U.S., biodiesel consumption increased from 450 to 690 million gallons in 2008. Oleaginous microorganisms that produce more than 70% of their weight in oil as lipids could be a potential source of oil to aid in this growing demand. By cultivating these microorganisms on municipal wastewater, the wastewater is treated while simultaneously accumulating oil. This study is focused on comparing the cultivation of an oleaginous microorganism consortium on synthetic primary effluent wastewater to autoclaved primary effluent wastewater amended with synthetic lignocellulosic sugars. Results show that the microorganisms reach stationary phase within 24 hours of cultivation on both the synthetic as well as the municipal wastewater. The growth of the consortium on the synthetic wastewater showed a maximum growth of 0.4g/L compared to 0.66g/L, the maximum growth when cultivated on autoclaved wastewater. Also, these microorganisms consumed all of the glucose within 24 hours of cultivation. The consortium's doubling time on municipal wastewater and the synthetic wastewater is approximately 4 hours and 8 hours, respectively. These results demonstrate that the municipal wastewater could be a viable medium that these microorganisms can thrive on for oil production. This modification could potentially generate billions of gallons of oil for producing biofuels.