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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2000 Jun 5;68(5):524-30.

Effect of alcohol compounds found in hemicellulose hydrolysate on the growth and fermentation of ethanologenic Escherichia coli.

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Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.


Lignocellulose can be readily hydrolyzed into a mixture of sugars using dilute mineral acids. During hydrolysis, a variety of inhibitors are also produced which include aromatic alcohols from lignin and furfuryl alcohol from pentose destruction. Seven compounds were investigated individually and in binary combinations (catechol, coniferyl alcohol, furfuryl alcohol, guaiacol, hydroquinone, methylcatechol, and vanillyl alcohol). Aromatic alcohols and furfuryl alcohol inhibited ethanol production from xylose in batch fermentations primarily by inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli LY01, the biocatalyst. The toxicities of these compounds were directly related to their hydrophobicity. Methylcatechol was the most toxic compound tested (MIC = 1.5 g/L). In binary combination, the extent of growth inhibition was roughly additive for most compounds tested. However, combinations with furfuryl alcohol and furfural (furaldehyde) appear synergistic in toxicity. When compared individually, alcohol components which are formed during hemicellulose hydrolysis are less toxic for growth than the aldehydes and organic acids either on a weight basis or a molar basis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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