Efficient sophorolipids production using food waste

Guneet KAUR, Huaimin Wang, Ming Ho To, Sophie L.K.W. Roelants, Wim Soetaert, Carol Sze Ki Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Recent sustainable development goals of food security, environmental protection, material and energy efficiency are the key drivers of the valorization of food waste. In the present work, the production of biosurfactant sophorolipids from several (food) waste streams was investigated, using the non-pathogenic yeast Starmerella bombicola. From a preliminary screening, restaurant food waste emerged as the most suitable feedstock compared to bakery waste, textile waste, used corn oil, animal fat and lipid fraction of hydrolyzed food waste. Restaurant food waste was subsequently used for sophorolipids production in a laboratory-scale bioreactor. Food waste obtained from a local restaurant was subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis for 16 h, yielding a hydrolysate containing about 100 g/L glucose and 2.4 g/L free amino nitrogen. High SL process efficiency was achieved by fed-batch fermentation using the restaurant food waste hydrolysate as the complete batch medium, i.e. without any supplementation of additional medium components such as vitamins, salts, nitrogen or phosphate. Controlled feeding of glucose and oleic acid to the culture was performed after the batch phase. A sophorolipids titer of 115.2 g/L was obtained in a fermentation time of 92 h resulting in an overall volumetric productivity of 1.25 g/L.h. These results achieved for sophorolipids productivity using hydrolyzed food waste are in the same order of magnitude as the reported values using traditional (complex) fermentation media. This indicates the suitability of the developed process using food waste for the advancement of waste-based bio-processes for the production of sophorolipids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biosurfactant
  • Fermentation
  • Restaurant food waste
  • Second generation substrate
  • Starmerella bombicola
  • Valorization


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