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Trends in Biotechnology
Vol. 33(1), 2015; Pages: 43–54

Microbial lipid-based lignocellulosic biorefinery: feasibility and challenges

Mingjie Jin, Patricia J. Slininger, Bruce S. Dien, Suresh Waghmode, Bryan R. Moser, Andrea Orjuela, Leonardo da Costa Sousa, Venkatesh Balan

Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory (BCRL), Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, MBI Building, 3815 Technology Boulevard, Lansing, MI 48910, USA


Although single-cell oil (SCO) has been studied for decades, lipid production from lignocellulosic biomass has received substantial attention only in recent years as biofuel research moves toward producing drop-in fuels. This review gives an overview of the feasibility and challenges that exist in realizing microbial lipid production from lignocellulosic biomass in a biorefinery. The aspects covered here include biorefinery technologies, the microbial oil market, oleaginous microbes, lipid accumulation metabolism, strain development, process configurations, lignocellulosic lipid production, technical hurdles, lipid recovery, and technoeconomics. The lignocellulosic SCO-based biorefinery will be feasible only if a combination of low- and high-value lipids are coproduced, while lignin and protein are upgraded to high-value products

Keywords: lignocellulosic lipids; single-cell oil; biorefinery; microbial lipids

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