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Development of fatty acid process production through acidogenic fermentation from vinasse for the synthesis of bioproducts

Grant number: 18/08273-0
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: May 01, 2019 - January 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Juliano Cherix
Grantee:Juliano Cherix
Company:Verdexis Bioprodutos Eireli
CNAE: Atividades profissionais, científicas e técnicas não especificadas anteriormente
Serviços combinados de escritório e apoio administrativo
City: Campinas
Co-Principal Investigators:Luiz Carlos Andreatto Junior
Assoc. researchers: Luiz Felipe Arjonilla de Mattos ; Reinaldo Gaspar Bastos ; Thatiane Teixeira Mendonça
Associated scholarship(s):19/11007-2 - Development of fatty acid process production through acidogenic fermentation from vinasse for the synthesis of bioproducts., BP.TT
19/10820-1 - Development of fatty acid process production through acidogenic fermentation from vinasse for the synthesis of bioproducts, BP.PIPE


There is a worldwide demand encouraging the sustainable production of chemicals to generate by-products from non-fossil source, which is a non-renewable resource. In this context, the synthesis of volatile fatty acids (VFA) from renewable sources is a promising alternative to achieve this goal. There are processes that describe the production of VFA from agricultural biomass, food, industrial and urban waste, in which are biosynthesized butyric, valeric, hexanoic and octanoic preferably. Observing the Brazilian scenario, the production of sugarcane and alcohol generates huge amounts of waste, among them stands out the vinasse, which despite some alternative reuse and disposal, however, there is not an environmentally sustainable solution to its destination end. The vinasse has potential as substrate for the generation of byproducts such as methane and biogas, as described in the literature. However, the development of technologies for the use of vinasse and generation of higher value added products, such as the VFA, has not yet been explored. This would generate a sustainable management of this residue, widely present in the agricultural Brazilian scenario, and moreover, produce at low cost chemical molecules of high demand in the chemical industry. One of the most important aspects that must be considered in order to make the industrial production of these acids viable is the post-processing, mainly recovery and purification of the VFA, which accounts for approximately 60% of production costs. Therefore, it is important to find applications where these acids can be used without many purification steps. One possible application is the production of biopolymers, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), since the VFA blend can serve as a substrate for this biological process requiring fewer purification steps. In addition, the polymers' production cost would be reduced, since the substrate would be cheaper and could make them more competitive in the market. Another sector in which organic acids and their blends are already being used and have grown in recent years is the animal nutrition industry, both for food/feed preservation and as a food additive. A third sector with large market for VFA is the chemical industry, since some of these compounds are considered key intermediates for different chemicals. Considering the points raised here, this project aims to establish a process of production of organic acids, from the acidogenic fermentation of vinasse by mixed cultures. Therefore, tests will be conducted using these acids as substrate for the production of PHA and a detailed analysis of the composition of the fermentation product will be conducted, as well as a market analysis aimed at introducing this product in the animal nutrition sector, focusing on the economic viability of this project. A sustainable, environmentally friendly and low cost process will be developed. It is expected to produce a mixture of organic acids containing higher concentrations of propionic, butyric, and hexanoic acids, preferred for the applications to be tested in this project. Thus, it is expected to achieve the following products: a biopolymer with interesting thermoplastic properties and low production cost and a mixture of organic acids of interest for animal nutrition. With the development of this project, it is intended to establish an efficient process that will become an organic acid production platform, from waste biomass. It is expected to be the basis for a future technology, not only for the production of additives for animal nutrition and the production of biopolymers, but also for biofuels and other chemical. (AU)