Black liquor is a pulping waste generated by the kraft process that has potential for downstream bioconversion. A microorganism was isolated from a black liquor sample collected from the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. The organism was identified as Paenibacillus glucanolyticus using 16S rRNA sequence analysis and was shown to be capable of growth on black liquor as the sole carbon source based on minimal media growth studies. Minimal media growth curves demonstrated that this facultative anaerobic microorganism can degrade black liquor as well as cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to identify products generated by P. glucanolyticus when it was grown anaerobically on black liquor. Fermentation products which could be converted into high-value chemicals such as succinic, propanoic, lactic, and malonic acids were detected.
Keywords: Biodegradation (bacterial degradation); Black liquor; Lignin; Paenibacillus glucanolyticus; Pulp mill waste.
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