Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.102, No.15, 6425-6435, 2018
Greener L-lactic acid production through in situ extractive fermentation by an acid-tolerant Lactobacillus strain
Lactic acid (LA) fermentation requires a neutralizer for a physiologically acceptable range. However, a neutralizer generates a large amount of gypsum, an environmental pollutant. Furthermore, the downstream processing is complicated and expensive, comprising 50-70% of the total cost. We previously developed a Lactobacillus delbrueckii FM1, which can produce undissociated LA without neutralizer. Here, we improved FM1 by adaptive evolution at pH 4.5, which generated Adp FM1 showing an 1.80-fold increase in LA production compared to FM1. The LA production via fed-batch fermentation yielded 36.2 g/L of LA, with a productivity of 0.500 g/L/h. However, cell viability was reduced due to the acidic pH and/or end-product inhibition. Therefore, an in situ LA recovery process using an extractive solvent was employed to maintain cell viability. Adp FM1 produced 49.2 g/L of LA via in situ LA-extractive fed-batch fermentation, which was 1.4-fold higher than that without LA extraction. Adp FM1 provided a total LA productivity of 0.512 g/L/h in 96 h. Among the tested strains, Adp FM1 exhibited the highest H+-ATPase activity and a 415-fold increase in H+-ATPase gene expression compared to the parent strain. These results suggest that the in situ LA extractive fermentation process will ease downstream processing and prove to be a more economical and environmentally friendly option compared to the present fermentation. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the production of undissociated L-LA by Lactobacillus using an in situ recovery process, with high LA production levels and productivity.