World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 8, 214-215

Short C o m m u n i c a t i o n

Lipid accumulation in Rhodotorula glutinis on sugar cane molasses in single-stage continuous culture
R.M. Alvarez*, B. Rodriguez, J.M. Romano, A.O. Diaz, E. G6mez, D. Mir6, L. Navarro, G. Saura and J.L. Garcia
Microbial lipids produced by Rhodotorula glutlnis grown in continuous culture with molasses under nitrogenlimiting conditions were evaluated and the effects of growth rate on fatty acid composition were studied. As the growth rate decreased, cell biomass, lipid content and lipid yield gradually increased. The maximum lipid content recorded was 39% (w/w) of dry cell biomass at a dilution rate of 0.04 h -1. The growth rate also affected fatty acid composition: oleic acid decreased with decreasing growth rate while stearic acid increased.

Key words: Fatty acids, lipid, Rhodotorula, yeast.

The worldwide impending demand for oils and fats has led to a search for unconventional sources. Microbial production of lipids appears to be an attractive solution to this problem, particularly in those countries with restricted supplies of lipids from natural sources (AlmazKn et al. 1981; Moreton 1988). Rhodotorula glutinis is one of the principal oleaginous yeasts used for lipid production, being non-toxic and relatively easy to grow and harvest (Ratledge 1979, Misra et al. 1984). In this paper, we report the effect of the growth rate of this yeast, with sugar cane molasses at different concentration on the accumulation of lipids, using the continuous culture technique.

conditions and control set points were as follows: 171 working volume, temperature 32-F 0.1~ pH 5.5, 500 rev/min and air flow 0.7 v/v/rain. The following determinations were performed: yeast dry weight, total reducing sugars (TRS) by the modified Eynon-Lane method (De Whalley 1949), ammonia and total nitrogen by the micro-Kjeldahl method (Tecator Unit). For lipid extraction, 2 g dry cells were hydrolysed with 80 ml 1 M HC1 for 30 rain at 121~ the debris was recovered, washed until neutral, dried and then exhausted in a Soxhlet apparatus with diethyl ether. The extracted lipids were analyzed for fatty acid composition as their methyl esters by gas chromatography.

Results and Discussion Materials and Methods
Rhodotorula glutinis L/24-2-1, from the collection of the Cuban
Research Institute of Sugar Cane By-Products, was used. Nitrogen-limiting medium with the following composition (g/l): (NH4)2SO4, 0.29; (NH4)2HPOa, 0.7 and clarified molasses (equivalent to 20 to 40 g total reducing sugars) was employed. A 251 Biolaffite fermenter was used and the operation Table I shows that, as the dilution rate for growing Rhodotorula glutinis decreased, cell biomass, lipid content and lipid yield gradually increased. However, the specific lipid production rate and lipid productivity achieved their maximum values at a dilution rate of 0.05 h-1. A similar trend, but at a lower dilution rate, (0.02 h-1), was observed by Choi et al. (1982) and Yoon & Rhee (1983), using Rhodotorula glutinis on glucose. The C:N ratio did not change significantly when the sugar concentration was increased, because molasses contain significant amounts of organic nitrogen. However, at the same dilution rate, the synthesis of lipids, cell biomass, lipid

R.M. Alvarez, B. Roddguez, J.M. Romano, A.O. Diaz, E. Gbmez, D. Mirb, G. Saura and J.L. Garcia are with the Instituto Cubano de Investigaciones de los Derivados de la Carla de Az0car, CUBA-10, Apartado 4026, C. Habana, Cuba. L. Navarro is with the Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Epidemiologia, Infanta y Manglar, C. Habana, Cuba. *Corresponding author.

(~ 1992 Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd


Worla Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol 8, 1992

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