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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Seed culture pre-adaptation of Bacillus coagulans MA-13 improves lactic acid production in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation.



Lignocellulosic biomass is an abundant and sustainable feedstock, which represents a promising raw material for the production of lactic acid via microbial fermentation. However, toxic compounds that affect microbial growth and metabolism are released from the biomass upon thermochemical pre-treatment. So far, susceptibility of bacterial strains to biomass-derived inhibitors still represents a major barrier to lactic acid production from lignocellulose. Detoxification of the pre-treated lignocellulosic material by water washing is commonly performed to alleviate growth inhibition of the production microorganism and achieve higher production rates.


In this study, we assessed the feasibility of replacing the washing step with integrated cellular adaptation during pre-culture of Bacillus coagulans MA-13 prior to simultaneous saccharification and lactic acid fermentation of steam exploded wheat straw. Using a seed culture pre-exposed to 30% hydrolysate led to 50% shorter process time, 50% higher average volumetric and 115% higher average specific productivity than when using cells from a hydrolysate-free seed culture.


Pre-exposure of B. coagulans MA-13 to hydrolysate supports adaptation to the actual production medium. This strategy leads to lower process water requirements and combines cost-effective seed cultivation with physiological pre-adaptation of the production strain, resulting in reduced lactic acid production costs.

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