(73e) Microbial Oils As Biodiesel Feedstock From Hydrolyzate of Switchgrass

Zhang, G. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
French, T. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
Hernandez, R. - Presenter, Mississippi State University

Biodiesel as a displacement fuel for traditional petroleum-derived diesel, which is mainly produced from soybean oils in industry, is currently an expensive fuel due in large part to the high cost of feedstock. Oils derived from non-food source of lignocellulosic biomass and industrial pulp and paper waste could potentially be a cheap source of biodiesel feedstock. The objective of this investigation is to determine the feasibility of using oleaginous microorganism Rhodotorula glutinis and activated sludge from wastewater treatment facilities in State of Mississippi to produce microbial oils, triacylglycerides, from hydrolyzates of switchgrass as a biodiesel feedstock.  Switchgrass was hydrolyzed with acids to produce sugars as the sole carbon and energy source for the microorganism. In the experiments, bioomass production and lipid accumulation were investigated growing on the media made of acid hydrolyzates of switachgrass. The lipid content in the cells was measured by gravimetrical Bligh & Dyer extraction. The fatty acid profiles of generated microbial oils were characterized by high temperature gas chromatography.  Kinetics of the biomass and lipid production was also studied.