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Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458  
© 2012 by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile  

Use of volatile fatty acids salts in the production of xanthan gum

José Alberto Correa Leite, Eloiza Pozzi, Lúcia Helena Pelizer, Marcelo Zaiat, Marlei Barboza


Background: The aim of this study was the production of xanthan gum from salts of volatile fatty acids, which can be generated in anaerobic processes for the production of hydrogen from organic wastewaters. Xanthan gum was produced with three different acid salts used to replace the traditional citrate, which is normally used in the culture for the production of this biopolymer. The volatile fatty acids (VFA) salts used were sodium acetate 0.0328 M, sodium propionate 0.0219 M, and sodium butyrate 0.0164 M.

Results: The values of biomass yield, (Y p/x ) obtained were 9.2 g/g for acetate, 11.78 g/g for citrate, 11.80 g/g for butyrate and 14.59 g/g for propionate, while the values of the product yield (Y p/s ), were 0.92; 0.59; 0.71 and 0.72 for acetate, citrate, butyrate and propionate. As for the rheological characterization , the gums produced showed a consistency index (K) and flow index (n) of 9.8 dina.s -n .cm -2 and 0.34 for acetate; 6.3 dina.s -n .cm -2 and 0.39 for citrate , 5.8 dina.s -n .cm -2 and 0.45 for butyrate , 39.2 dina.s -n .cm -2 and 0.24 for propionate , that characterize the gums with good consistency and fluidity.

Conclusions: It is possible to produce xanthan gum from short-chain volatile acids in replacement by the citrate that is usually used in medium composition for the gum production. These results contribute to the feasibility studies for implementation of processes for treating wastewater generating products such as volatile acids, hydrogen and consequent use of these acids for the production of xanthan gum.