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Keywords:

  • recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae LNH-ST 424A;
  • xylose fermentation;
  • ethanol;
  • pretreatment;
  • acetic acid;
  • furfural;
  • fermentation inhibitors

Abstract

The inhibitory effects of furfural and acetic acid on the fermentation of xylose and glucose to ethanol in YEPDX medium by a recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (LNH-ST 424A) were investigated. Initial furfural concentrations below 5 g/L caused negligible inhibition to glucose and xylose consumption rates in batch fermentations with high inoculum (4.5–6.0 g/L). At higher initial furfural concentrations (10–15 g/L) the inhibition became significant with xylose consumption rates especially affected. Interactive inhibition between acetic acid and pH were observed and quantified, and the results suggested the importance of conditioning the pH of hydrolysates for optimal fermentation performance. Poplar biomass pretreated by various CAFI processes (dilute acid, AFEX, ARP, SO2-catalyzed steam explosion, and controlled-pH) under respective optimal conditions was enzymatically hydrolyzed, and the mixed sugar streams in the hydrolysates were fermented. The 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) and furfural concentrations were low in all hydrolysates and did not pose negative effects on fermentation. Maximum ethanol productivity showed that 0–6.2 g/L initial acetic acid does not substantially affect the ethanol fermentation with proper pH adjustment, confirming the results from rich media fermentations with reagent grade sugars. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2009