A Tale of Two Bioprocesses


Bioprocesses use microorganisms or cells in order to produce and/or obtain some desired products. Nowadays these strategies appear as a fundamental alternative to the traditional chemical processes. Amongst the many advantages associated to their use in the chemical, oil or pharmaceutical industries, their low cost, easily scale-up and low environmental impact should be highlighted. This work reports two examples of bioprocesses as alternatives to traditional chemical processes used by the oil and pharmaceutical industries. In the first part of this work it was studied an example of a bioprocess based on the use of microorganisms in enhanced oil recovery. Currently, due to high costs of oil and its scarcity, the enhanced oil recovery techniques become very attractive. Between the available techniques the use of microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) has been highlighted. This process is based on the stimulation of indigenous microorganisms or by the injection of microorganism consortia to produce specific metabolites and hence increase the amount of oil recovered. In the first chapters of this work the isolation of several microorganisms from samples of paraffinic Brazilian oils is described, and their tensioactive and biodegradability properties are presented. Furthermore, the chemical structures of the biosurfactants produced by those isolates were also characterized. In the final chapter of the first part, the capabilities of some isolated bacteria to enhance the oil recovery of paraffinic Brazilian oils entrapped in sand-pack columns were evaluated. In the second part of this work it was investigated aqueous two-phase systems or aqueous biphasic systems (ABS) as extractive strategies for antibiotics directly from the fermented broth in which they are produced. To this goal, several aqueous two-phase systems composed of ionic liquids (ILs) and polymers were studied for the first time and their phase diagrams were determined. The novel ATPS appear as effective and economic methods to extract different biomolecules or/and biological products. Thus, aiming the initial antibiotics extraction purpose it was studied the influence of a wide range of ILs and polymers in the aqueous two-phase formation ability, as well as their influence in the partitioning of several type-molecules, such as amino acids, alkaloids and dyes. As a final chapter it is presented the capacity of these novel systems to extract the antibiotic tetracycline directly from the fermented broth of Streptomyces aureofaciens.

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Jorge Fernando Brandão Pereira

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João Manuel Costa Araújo Pereira Coutinho; Mara Guadalupe Freire Martins


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