Lipid-based biofuel production from wastewater

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Abstract

Increasing world population, urbanization and industrialization are driving global increases in wastewater production. Wastewater comprises significant amounts of chemical energy primarily in the form of organic molecules (in particular lipids), which are currently not being recovered comprehensively. Within biological wastewater treatment (BWWT) systems, specialized microorganisms assimilate and store lipids anaerobically. These intracellular stores represent interesting feedstocks for biofuel synthesis. Here, we review our current understanding of the genetic and functional basis for bacterial lipid accumulation and processing, and relate this to lipid accumulating bacterial populations which occur naturally in BWWT plants. A grand challenge for microbial ecologists and engineers now lies in translating this knowledge into the design of new BWWT processes for the comprehensive recovery of lipids from wastewater streams and their subsequent conversion into biofuel. © 2014 The Authors.

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Muller, E. E. L., Sheik, A. R., & Wilmes, P. (2014). Lipid-based biofuel production from wastewater. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2014.03.007

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