High-level production of 1,3-propanediol from crude glycerol by Clostridium butyricum AKR102a

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Feb;93(3):1057-63. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3595-6. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


The aim of this study was to optimize a biotechnological process for the production of 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) based on low-quality crude glycerol derived from biodiesel production. Clostridium butyricum AKR102a was used in fed-batch fermentations in 1-L and 200-L scale. The newly discovered strain is characterized by rapid growth, high product tolerance, and the ability to use crude glycerol at the lowest purity directly gained from a biodiesel plant side stream. Using pure glycerol, the strain AKR102 reached 93.7 g/L 1,3-PD with an overall productivity of 3.3 g/(L*h). With crude glycerol under the same conditions, 76.2 g/L 1,3-PD was produced with a productivity of 2.3 g/(L*h). These are among the best results published so far for natural producers. The scale up to 200 L was possible. Due to the simpler process design, only 61.5 g/L 1,3-PD could be reached with a productivity of 2.1 g/(L*h).

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Clostridium butyricum / growth & development
  • Clostridium butyricum / metabolism*
  • Culture Media
  • Fermentation
  • Glycerol / metabolism*
  • Propylene Glycols / metabolism*


  • Biofuels
  • Culture Media
  • Propylene Glycols
  • 1,3-propanediol
  • Glycerol