The extractive acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentations of Clostridium acetobutylicum were evaluated using biodiesel as the in situ extractant. The biodiesel preferentially extracted butanol, minimized product inhibition, and increased production of butanol (from 11.6 to 16.5 g L⁻¹) and total solvents (from 20.0 to 29.9 g L⁻¹) by 42% and 50%, respectively. The fuel properties of the ABE-enriched biodiesel obtained from the extractive fermentations were analyzed. The key quality indicators of diesel fuel, such as the cetane number (increased from 48 to 54) and the cold filter plugging point (decreased from 5.8 to 0.2 °C), were significantly improved for the ABE-enriched biodiesel. Thus, the application of biodiesel as the extractant for ABE fermentation would increase ABE production, bypass the energy intensive butanol recovery process, and result in an ABE-enriched biodiesel with improved fuel properties.
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