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Fermentation of food waste into 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BDO), a high-value chemical, is environmentally sustainable and an inexpensive method to recycle waste. Compared to traditional mesophilic fermentation, thermophilic fermentation can inhibit the growth of contaminant bacteria, thereby improving the success of food waste fermentation. However, the effects of sugar and nutrient concentrations in thermophilic food waste fermentations are currently unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of sugar and nutrients (yeast extract (YE) and peptone) concentrations on 2,3-BDO production from fermenting glucose and food waste media using the newly isolated thermophilic Bacillus licheniformis YNP5-TSU. When glucose media was used, fermentation was greatly affected by sugar and nutrient concentrations: excessive glucose (>70 g/L) slowed down the fermentation and low nutrients (2 g/L YE and 1 g/L peptone) caused fermentation failure. However, when food waste media were used with low nutrient addition, the bacteria consumed all 57.8 g/L sugars within 24 h and produced 24.2 g/L 2,3-BDO, equivalent to a fermentation yield of 0.42 g/g. An increase in initial sugar content (72.9 g/L) led to a higher 2,3-BDO titer of 36.7 g/L with a nearly theoretical yield of 0.47 g/g. These findings may provide fundamental knowledge for designing cost-effective food waste fermentation to produce 2,3-BDO.

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