Navigation Links
Cellulosic ethanol: Expanding options, identifying obstacles

This release is available in Spanish.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are figuring out how to turn wheat straw into ethanol "gold," and learning more about the bacteria that can "infect" ethanol plants and interfere with fuel production.

At the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill., ARS chemist Badal Saha conducted a 5-year study that examined whether wheat straw--a crop residue left over after the grain has been harvested--could have commercial potential for cellulosic ethanol production.

Saha found he could access and ferment almost all the plant sugars in the biofeedstock when it was pretreated with alkaline peroxide and then broken down by enzymes. This process released even hard-to-reach sugars in plant cell walls, which significantly boosted the overall ethanol output to around 93 gallons per ton of wheat straw.

But the same environments that facilitate fermentation can also nurture microorganisms that "infect" ethanol production facilities and disrupt output. ARS geneticist Tim Leathers collected bacteria from samples at commercial ethanol facilities, including a wet-mill facility that had never been dosed with antibiotics and a dry-grind facility that periodically dosed with antibiotics after bacterial outbreaks. He found that most of the bacterial isolates he collected from both facilities were different types of lactic acid bacteria.

Meanwhile, ARS microbiologist Ken Bischoff developed a model for simulating bacterial contamination and infection. He found that when test cultures were inoculated with Lactobacillus fermentum--one of the most common sources of bacterial infections in ethanol plants--ethanol yields decreased by 27 percent. Sometimes the "infection" could be cured with antibiotics, but he also found one bacterial strain that was already resistant to treatment.

Results from this research have been published in several journals, including Biotechnology and Bioengineering, the Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, and the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.


Contact: Ann Perry
United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics

Related biology news :

1. Genencor Wins The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Sustainable Energy Award For Accellerase(R) Cellulosic Ethanol Enzymes
2. Cellulosic biofuel technology will generate low-cost green fuel, says major study
3. Concordia University leads academic team for national Cellulosic Biofuels Network
4. Process can cut the cost of making cellulosic biofuels
5. Model microbial community for studying expanding dead zones characterized
6. GEN reports on expanding NextGen sequencing applications
7. Expanding cell girth indicates seriousness of breast cancer
8. European Union forests expanding, absorbing carbon at surprisingly high rate: study
9. Identifying molecular targets for diabetes-related ED
10. University of the Basque Country develops system for identifying illnesses in Paraguay
11. A sticky solution for identifying effective probiotics
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized ... solutions, today announced that it has been awarded ... Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack ... "Innovation has been a driving force within ... will allow us to innovate and develop new ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator in ... the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified . ... that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises and ... 15 million users across the financial services industry, however ... suites and physical access represent a growing portion of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting ... a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for ... of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now ... Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) is ... fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited to ... showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long event ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... October 05, 2017 , ... Understanding ... the newest frontiers in human health. Gut Love: You Are My Future, the newest ... an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: