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Bioresource Technology
Vol. 235, 20
17, Pages: 309–315

Utilization of microbial oil obtained from crude glycerol for the production of polyol and its subsequent conversion to polyurethane foams

Bijaya K. Uprety, Jayanth Venkatarama Reddy, Sai Swaroop Dalli, Sudip K. Rakshit

Department of Biotechnology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.


We have demonstrated possible use of microbial oil in biopolymer industries. Microbial oil was produced from biodiesel based crude glycerol and subsequently converted into polyol. Fermentation of crude glycerol in a batch bioreactor using Rhodosporidium toruloides ATCC 10788 produced 18.69 g/L of lipid at the end of 7 days. The microbial oil was then chemically converted to polyol and characterized using FT-IR and 1H NMR. For comparison, canola oil and palm oil were also converted into their respective polyols. The hydroxyl numbers of polyols from canola, palm and microbial oil were found to be 266.86, 222.32 and 230.30 (mg KOH/g of sample) respectively. All the polyols were further converted into rigid and semi-rigid polyurethanes (maintaining the molar –NCO/–OH ratio of 1.1) to examine their suitability in polymer applications. Conversion of microbial lipid to polyurethane foam also provides a new route for the production of polymers using biodiesel based crude glycerol.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Crude glycerol; Batch fermentation; Microbial oil; Bio-based polyols; Polyurethane.

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