In situ extractive fermentation of acetone and butanol



The productivity of the acetone–butanol fermentation was increased by continuously removing acetone and butanol from the fermentation broth during fed-batch culture. Whole broth containing viable cells of Clostridium acetobutylicum was cycled to a Karr reciprocating plate extraction column in which acetone and butanol were extracted into oleyl alcohol flowing counter-currently through the column. By continuously removing these toxic metabolites from the broth, end product inhibition was reduced, and a concentrated feed solution containing 300 g/L glucose was fermented at an overall butanol productivity of 1.0 g/L h, 70% higher than the productivity of normal batch fermentation. The continuous extraction process provides flexible operation and lends itself to process scale-up.