ERC Researchers Develop Way to Improve Production Process for Fatty Acids

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Iowa State University, have developed an approach to improve the fatty-acid production process. The improvement re-uses the cell culture as a functional biocatalyst to prolong the production by repeatedly adding more medium, a strategy that leads to an increase in the overall product yield and product titer (substance concentration).

Impact/benefits: 

Improving overall product yield and, consequently, lowering the cost of downstream processing will significantly enhance the commercialization potential of a microbial-based, free fatty-acid production process.

Explanation/Background: 

Several factors play an important role in the success of translating laboratory-scale discoveries to their final commercialization stage. Some key factors, which support CBiRC’s move to systems-level testbeds, include the establishment of robust and efficient production strains that have high product yield, high volumetric productivity, and the ability to separate the final product from the fermentation broth easily. This work demonstrated the ability to accomplish these objectives by moving to a fed-batch fermentation process in the production of fatty acids.