The extraction of 1,3-propanediol from its aqueous solutions mimicking fermentation broths, and then from the actual fermentation broths produced by biocatalytic treatment of glycerol, has been targeted.
The capability of different classes of media of extracting 1,3-propanediol out of its water solutions, mimicking the fermentation broths, was tested. Among them, ionic liquids were proven to be the best media for the purpose. A thorough investigation of the capability of a wide range of ionic liquids to extract 1,3-propanediol from its water solution, mimicking the glycerol fermentation broths, and then out of the actual fermentation broths produced and delivered to QUB by STUBA, has been carried out. A range of hydrophobic ionic liquids were synthesised and tested: some of them exhibited promising extraction behaviour. Both high extraction efficiency and stability was achieved. Employing ionic liquids for real fermentation broth extraction, more than 40 % of 1,3-propanediol could be removed after consecutive extractions.