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Equilibrium studies on the reactive extraction of lactic acid from fermentation broth

Açan, Başak
Lactic acid recovery from dilute fermentation broths is a growing requirement due to the increasing demand for pure lactic acid. Reactive extraction is proposed as an alternative to conventional methods of recovery, since the selectivity of separation is remarkably enhanced in reactive extraction. The aim of this study is to perform the equilibrium studies for the recovery of lactic acid from its synthetic aqueous solutions (not from real fermentation broths) by reactive extraction and investigate the effects of various parameters such as initial lactic acid concentration in the aqueous phase (0.25 - 1.3 M), initial pH of the aqueous phase (2 ا 6), organic phase extractant concentration (0.1 ا 0.5 M), type of the extractant (chloride, hydrogensulphate and hydroxide salts of tri-n-octylmethylammonium) and the type of diluent (oleyl alcohol or octanol). The results of the experiments showed that the degrees of extraction decreased with increasing use of diluent with the extractant and increasing initial lactic acid concentration of the aqueous phase. Highest degrees of extraction were achieved for undiluted extractants. The performance of the diluents were investigated by performing extraction experiments with solutions of TOMAC in oleyl alcohol or octanol at different pH values and it was observed that octanol had a higher solvating power than oleyl alcohol especially at lower aqueous phase pH values. Higher extraction efficiencies were obtained for TOMAC dissolved in octanol rather than oleyl alcohol. Initial aqueous pH of 6 was identified as the optimum pH for the extraction, also due to its being equal the average fermentation pH for the extractions with Lactobacillus species. Among the different salts of tri-n-octylmethylammonium, hydroxide salt exhibited the highest degrees of extraction (83% with undiluted TOMA(OH) and 78% with 0.5 M TOMA(OH) in octanol for the