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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2000 Spring;84-86:141-52.

Fermentations of pectin-rich biomass with recombinant bacteria to produce fuel ethanol.

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Department of Biology, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant 48859, USA.


Pectin-rich residues from sugar beet processing contain significant carbohydrates and insignificant amounts of lignin. Beet pulp was evaluated for conversion to ethanol using recombinant bacteria as biocatalysts. Hydrolysis of pectin-rich residues followed by ethanolic fermentations by yeasts has not been productive because galacturonic acid and arabinose are not fermentable to ethanol by these organisms. The three recombinant bacteria evaluated in this study, Escherichia coli strain KO11, Klebsiella oxytoca strain P2, and Erwinia chrysanthemi EC 16 pLOI 555, ferment carbohydrates in beet pulp with varying efficiencies. E. coli KO11 is able to convert pure galacturonic acid to ethanol with minimal acetate production. Using an enzyme loading of 10.5 filter paper units of cellulase, 120.4 polygalacturonase units of pectinase, and 6.4 g of cellobiase (per gram of dry wt sugar beet pulp), with substrate addition after 24 h of fermentation, 40 g of ethanol/L was produced. Other recombinants exhibited lower ethanol yields with increases in acetate and succinate production.

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