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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING BIOCHEMICAL PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF SUSTAINABLE FUELS AND CHEMICALS

Location: Renewable Product Technology Research Unit

Title: Corn fiber utilization for production of Schizophyllan

Authors
item Leathers, Timothy
item Nunnally, Melinda
item Stanley, April
item Rich, Joseph

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 4, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Corn fiber is an abundant coproduct of the corn wet milling process, primarily composed of the seed pericarp and adherent starch. Schizophyllan is a biopolymer composed entirely of glucose, with a ß-1,3-linked backbone and single ß-1,6-linked glucose side chains at every third residue, produced by the fungus Schizophyllan commune. Schizophyllan is commercially produced in small quantities for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. However, the unique physical properties of schizophyllan, including high viscosity, film formation, and thermal stability, suggest bulk biomaterials applications. Wintershall Holding GmbH (Kassel, Germany) is currently field testing schizophyllan for use in enhanced oil recovery. In our laboratory, we are testing schizophyllan as a component of biobased lubricants, particularly for metalworking, where water solubility and thermal stability are important. Schizophyllan is conventionally produced from glucose using a complicated process for pharmaceutical- and cosmetic-grade materials. Utilization of corn fiber in a simplified process could the reduce cost of schizophyllan production and provide a value-added coproduct from corn processing. In preliminary studies, cultures of S. commune strain ATCC 38548 produced schizophyllan when grown in malt extract basal medium containing corn fiber in place of glucose. Corn fiber pretreated with alkaline hydrogen peroxide produced higher yields of schizophyllan. Furthermore, the malt extract basal medium could be largely replaced with corn steep liquor. A simplified downstream process was developed for recovery of schizophyllan that reduces dilution of the culture supernatant and eliminates costly reconcentration and purification steps. Studies are underway to further optimize and scale up this process. Schizophyllan produced from corn fiber will be physically characterized, particularly for molecular weight and solution viscosity properties.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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