The production of sugar-based ethanol from sugarcane generates vinasse as one of the by-products, which is characterized by its high organic load, sulfate and potassium and low nitrogen concentration. The chemical characterization of vinasse prevents it from being an efficient microbial culture medium for fungi, which could produce high-value metabolites. There are, however, various techniques for pretreatment of the vinasse in order to reduce its microbial toxicity, such as those based on advanced oxidative processes, chemical precipitation and even some based on white-rot fungi, producers of laccase and manganese peroxidase. Mucor circinelloides is a fungal strain of industrial interest, due to its robustness and growth capacity in culture media with significant concentrations of inhibitory compounds. The zygomycete M. circinelloides is also capable of producing high concentrations of intracellular lipids, and high concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consequently, the fungus M. circinelloides is a strong candidate for an integration of the 1G-2G biorefinery of the ethanol and biodiesel industries. This project aims to outline the strategy of this integration by cultivating M. circinelloides in pretreated sugarcane vinasse by advanced oxidative processes. Specifically, the objectives of the proposal are: (i) development of pre-treatment of vinasse by advanced oxidative processes and physical-chemical characterization of pre-treated vinasse; (ii) growth of M. circinelloides in pre-treated vinasse and optimization of growth parameters and lipid production; (iii) Determination of the parameters of interest, with special emphasis on the fatty acid profile of the microbial oil, targeting biodiesel production (low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids) or hydrolysis (high 18:3 content); (iv) transesterification of M. circinelloides biomass using ethanol as an acylating agent using heterogeneous biochemical and chemical catalysts; (v) To study processes to obtain fatty acids by enzymatic hydrolysis to obtain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: