Kinetics and microbial ecology of chain elongation for production of medium-chain carboxylic acids

Abstract of the doctoral research of Pieter Candry:

All of us have been in contact with bioproduction processes: the alcohol in the beer we drink, the lactic acid in the yoghurt and cheese we eat, and the acetic acid encountered in vinegar. All of them are examples of how we can put bacteria to good use to make food, but also chemicals and consumer products. When feeding these bacteria with organic waste streams, one could effectively make products from wastes.
In this Ph.D., caproic acid was targeted. With an aroma reminiscent of goat and waxes, it is a product that received much interest in scientific research in the last years, as it can be produced by bacteria from wastes, and could potentially be used as antibiotic substitute in animal feed, or, converted to solvents, fragrances, flavours and more.
In this Ph.D. different routes were explored to produce caproic acid, and, an emphasis was placed on the interactions between different bacterial groups in these production systems. Using ethanol as a starting point, the process was modelled, mixed cultures were investigated and how ethanol is used by the key organism was elaborated. Subsequently, the research moved on to the use of lactic acid, and what factors control efficient production processes. Lastly, the bacteria present in caproic acid-producing granules, i.e. bacterial aggregates 3 mm in size, and their interactions were explored.

Dissertation Supervisors:

 Prof. Dr. Ir. Korneel Rabaey, Prof. Dr. Ramon Ganigué & Dr. José Maria Carvajal-Arroyo

Event location: 
Het Pand, Gent
Event date: 
Wednesday, 8 January, 2020 - 17:00 to 22:00
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