Applied microbiology and biotechnology

Bioconversion of crude glycerol by fungi.

PMID 22322872


The production of synthetic glycerol from petrochemical feedstocks has been decreasing in recent years. This is largely due to increasing supplies of crude glycerol derived as a co-product from the oleochemical industry, especially biodiesel production. The price of glycerol is at historic lows, and the supply of crude glycerol is projected to grow faster than its industrial uses. This oversupply is driving the transition from glycerol as a product to glycerol as a precursor for new industrial applications, including its use as a substrate for bioconversion. This article reviews the use of fungi for the bioconversion of crude glycerol to the value-added products 1,2-propanediol, ethanol, single cell oil, specialty polyunsaturated fatty acids, biosurfactants, and organic acids. Information on the impurities of crude glycerol from different industrial processes is also included.