BACKGROUND: Integration of second-generation (2G) bioethanol production with existing first-generation (1G) production may facilitate commercial production of ethanol from cellulosic material. Since 2G hydrolysates have a low sugar concentration and 1G streams often have to be diluted prior to fermentation, mixing of streams is beneficial. Improved ethanol concentrations in the 2G production process lowers energy demand in distillation, improves overall energy efficiency and thus lower production cost. There is also a potential to reach higher ethanol yields, which is required in economically feasible ethanol production. Integrated process scenarios with addition of saccharified wheat meal (SWM) or fermented wheat meal (FWM) were investigated in simultaneous saccharification and (co-)fermentation (SSF or SSCF) of steam-pretreated wheat straw, while the possibility of recovering the valuable protein-rich fibre residue from the wheat was also studied.<br /><br />RESULTS: The addition of SWM to SSF of steam-pretreated wheat straw, using commercially used dried baker's yeast, S. cerevisiae, resulted in ethanol concentrations of about 60 g/L, equivalent to ethanol yields of about 90% of the theoretical. The addition of FWM in batch mode SSF was toxic to baker's yeast, due to the ethanol content of FWM, resulting in a very low yield and high accumulation of glucose. The addition of FWM in fed-batch mode still caused a slight accumulation of glucose, but the ethanol concentration was fairly high, 51.2 g/L, corresponding to an ethanol yield of 90%, based on the amount of glucose added.In batch mode of SSCF using the xylose-fermenting, genetically modified S. cerevisiae strain KE6-12, no improvement was observed in ethanol yield or concentration, compared with baker's yeast, despite the increased xylose utilization, probably due to the considerable increase in glycerol production. A slight increase in xylose consumption was seen when glucose from SWM was fed at a low feed rate, after 48 hours, compared with batch SSCF. However, the ethanol yield and concentration remained in the same range as in batch mode.<br /><br />CONCLUSION: Ethanol concentrations of about 6% (w/v) were obtained, which will result in a significant reduction in the cost of downstream processing, compared with SSF of the lignocellulosic substrate alone. As an additional benefit, it is also possible to recover the protein-rich residue from the SWM in the process configurations presented, providing a valuable co-product.
Erdei, B., Hancz, D., Galbe, M., & Zacchi, G. (2013). SSF of steam-pretreated wheat straw with the addition of saccharified or fermented wheat meal in integrated bioethanol production. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1754-6834-6-169