Bioresource technology

Injection of air into the headspace improves fermentation of phosphoric acid pretreated sugarcane bagasse by Escherichia coli MM170.

PMID 21531547


Microaeration (injecting air into the headspace) improved the fermentation of hemicellulose hydrolysates obtained from the phosphoric acid pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse at 170°C for 10 min. In addition, with 10% slurries of phosphoric acid pretreated bagasse (180°C, 10 min), air injection into the headspace promoted xylose utilization and increased ethanol yields from 0.16 to 0.20 g ethanol/g bagasse dry weight using a liquefaction plus simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation process (L+SScF). This process was scaled up to 80 L using slurries of acid pretreated bagasse (96 h incubation; 0.6L of air/min into the headspace) with ethanol yields of 312-347 L (82-92 gal) per tone (dry matter), corresponding to 0.25 and 0.27 g/g bagasse (dry weight). Injection of small amounts of air into the headspace may provide a convenient alternative to subsurface sparging that avoids problems of foaming, sparger hygiene, flotation of particulates, and phase separation.