BACKGROUND: Bioethanol is mostly produced from starchy parts of the corn grain kernel leaving significant amounts of valuable by-products such as dried distillers' grains with solubles (DDGS) which can be used as a substitute for traditional feedstuff. The suitability of six maize hybrids from Serbia was investigated for bioethanol and DDGS production. The correlation between physical and chemical characteristics of the grain, bioethanol yield and quality of the corresponding DDGS was assessed.
RESULTS: All hybrids had very different chemical composition and physical characteristics which could allow various applications. The highest bioethanol yield (94.5% of theoretical) and volumetric productivity (2.01 g l−1 h−1) were obtained with hybrid ZP 434 and the lowest with ZP 611k. Regarding chemical composition, all DDGS samples manifested good properties as feed components. Their protein content was higher compared to the kernel. In addition, the samples showed high digestibility and high mineral content, especially of calcium and phosphorus.
CONCLUSION: A hybrid ZP 434 was selected as the most promising bioethanol producer. This property is attributed to the highest level of soft endosperm which is more susceptible to starch-hydrolysing enzymes. A high yield potential per hectare makes it the best candidate for commercial bioethanol production. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry