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Optimization of Citric Acid Production by Immobilized Cells of Novel Yeast Isolates

  • Hesham, Abd El-Latif1, 2
  • Mostafa, Yasser S.1
  • AlSharqi, Laila Essa Omar1
  • 1 Biology Department, College of Science, King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia , (Saudi Arabia)
  • 2 Genetics Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Beni-Suef University, Egypt , (Egypt)
Published Article
Taylor & Francis
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2020
DOI: 10.1080/12298093.2020.1726854
PMID: 32363040
PMCID: PMC7178817
PubMed Central
  • Research Article


Citric acid is a commercially valuable organic acid widely used in food, pharmaceutical, and beverage industries. In this study, 260 yeast strains were isolated from soil, bread, juices, and fruits wastes and preliminarily screened using bromocresol green agar plates for their ability to produce organic acids. Overall, 251 yeast isolates showed positive results, with yellow halos surrounding the colonies. Citric acid production by 20 promising isolates was evaluated using both free and immobilized cell techniques. Results showed that citric acid production by immobilized cells (30–40 g/L) was greater than that of freely suspended cells (8–19 g/L). Of the 20 isolates, two (KKU-L42 and KKU-L53) were selected for further analysis based on their citric acid production levels. Immobilized KKU-L42 cells had a higher citric acid production rate (62.5%), while immobilized KKU-L53 cells showed an ∼52.2% increase in citric acid production compared with free cells. The two isolates were accurately identified by amplification and sequence analysis of the 26S rRNA gene D1/D2 domain, with GenBank-based sequence comparison confirming that isolates KKU-L42 and KKU-L53 were Candida tropicalis and Pichia kluyveri , respectively. Several factors, including fermentation period, pH, temperature, and carbon and nitrogen source, were optimized for enhanced production of citric acid by both isolates. Maximum production was achieved at fermentation period of 5 days at pH 5.0 with glucose as a carbon source by both isolates. The optimum incubation temperature for citric acid production by C. tropicalis was 32 °C, with NH4Cl the best nitrogen source, while maximum citric acid by P. kluyveri was observed at 27 °C with (NH4)2 SO4 as the nitrogen source. Citric acid production was maintained for about four repeated batches over a period of 20 days. Our results suggest that apple and banana wastes are potential sources of novel yeast strains; C. tropicalis and P. kluyveri which could be used for commercial citric acid production.

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