Journal of biotechnology

A repeat-batch membrane bioreactor with a phase inversion for the desaturation of isopropyl palmitate by a mutant Rhodococcus strain.

PMID 10908790


A repeat-batch membrane bioreactor was constructed for the novel bioconversion of isopropyl hexadecanoate to isopropyl cis-6-hexadecenoate by a Rhodococcus mutant. The addition of glutamate, thiamine, and MgSO(4) was very effective in improving not only the rate and yield of the bioconversion but also the maintenance of desaturation activity during cell recycling. An oil-in-water (O/W) type emulsion of the reaction medium was inverted to a water-in-oil (W/O) type by discharging the water phase from the reaction mixture. The continuous oil phase containing the product could effectively be recovered through a hydrophobic hollow-fiber module. By decreasing the oil-to-water ratio upon addition of fresh medium, the medium was spontaneously inverted again to an O/W type emulsion to proceed with the next conversion. The batch reaction coupled with the phase inversion could be repeated more than 13 times for over about 300 h operation. Finally, a highly purified product was obtained with high yield by the urea adduct procedure.