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Immobilization of whole-cell Yarrowia lipolytica catalysts on the surface of Luffa cylindrica sponge
* 1 , 2 , 2
1  Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Institute of Food Sciences, Department of Chemistry
2  Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology
Academic Editor: Diego Moreno-Fernandez


Luffa cylindrica (also known as Luffa sponge) is a vegetable from the Cucurbitaceae family, culinary popular in Asian countries. The fruit of this plant has a specific fibrous structure and after drying it adopts a three-dimensional mesh structure. Due to its physicochemical features, it is now increasingly used in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and materials industries.

The aim of this study was to determine the potential ability of the Luffa sponge to bind microorganisms on its surface. The research was carried out with the use of Yarrowia lipolytica KKP379 yeast. Sorption capacity of Luffa cylindrica was assessed on the basis of the measurement of the optical density of the medium, the yield of yeast dry biomass, the mass of cells multiplied in the medium and adsorbed on the Luffa sponge and their extracellular catalytic activity.

The research confirmed that the open, three-dimensional, fibrous structure of the Luffa sponge shows good sorption abilities and can be an excellent biomaterial for binding whole cells of microorganisms. A large amount of reactive functional groups allows the adsorption of a large number of cells. 1 g of dried Luff sponge is able to adsorb about 0.64 g of yeast dry cell mass. The efficiency of binding of microorganisms is much higher (by approx. 25%) when the biopolymer is introduced into the medium at the beginning of the cultivation (when introducing the inoculum).

Keywords: immobilization, Luffa cylindrca sponge, Yarrowia lipolytica, whole-cell catalysts.