Bacterial cellulose (BC) exhibits a unique combination of porosity, tensile strength, reticulated crystal structure and biocompatibility useful for many applications in the food, biomedical and other industries. Polysaccharide addition has been shown to improve the production and the mechanical properties of BC nanocomposites. This study examined the effect of pullulan on BC fermentation as well as the co-culturing of the BC producer with Aureobasidium pullulans, a fungal strain that produces pullulan as an exopolysaccharide. Results showed that a 1% pullulan addition improved Young’s modulus of BC pellicles for sixfold. Addition of pullulan at 1.5% and 2% levels could increase the BC production from 0.447 to 0.814 and 1.997 g/L, respectively. The co-culture fermentation demonstrated a mixed effect on the aggregation and bundling of BC while resulting in a significant improvement in mechanical properties. The study provided a polysaccharide additive and a novel fermentation method to produce BC with improved properties.
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