Background: The severe increase in the consumption of fossil fuels has caused
great concern. The natural resources required to produce those fossil fuels cannot be replaced
in a short period of time. Therefore, the demand for alternative energy sources that
can substitute petroleum-based sources and diminish the negative environmental impacts
generated from the manufacturing and processing of fossil fuels has garnered attention.
Objective: Among the studied alternatives, biodiesel production using microorganisms has
shown several advantages over other types of biofuels. However, the production of biodiesel
is still not economically feasible. As such, this study uses sugar cane molasses to reduce the
cost of raw materials and optimize the culture conditions to obtain a high lipid yield from an
oleaginous yeast that can be eventually used to produce biofuel.
Results and Conclusion: The following culture medium conditions were found to maximize
the lipid accumulation from the yeast, Cryptococcus curvatus when grown in a 5% m/v molasses
medium (50 g/L molasses): 34.89°C, pH 5.99, and C:Nof 121.25 as result of flask
testing and data analysis with the Box-Behnken Design. The existence of palmitic acid
(C16:0), oleic acid (C18:1), and linoleic acid (C18:2) as the dominant components accounting
for 82.26% of the total was confirmed through the fatty acid composition and lipid
analysis (FAMEs). This suggests that the lipids accumulated by C. curvatus may be suitable
to be used as a biodiesel source. This result was corroborated by the bis-allylic position
equivalent (46.23) and cetane number values (52.31), which met both American and European
standards for biodiesel quality.