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J Biotechnol. 2004 Jun 10;110(3):287-93.

Continuous ethanol production and evaluation of yeast cell lysis and viability loss under very high gravity medium conditions.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., Canada N2L 3G1.


A combined bioreactor system, composed of a stirred tank and a three-stage tubular bioreactor in series and with a total working volume of 3260 ml, was established. Continuous ethanol production was carried out using Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a very high gravity (VHG) medium containing 280 g l(-1) glucose. An average ethanol concentration of 124.6 g l(-1) or 15.8% (v) was produced when the bioreactor system was operated at a dilution rate of 0.012 h(-1). The yield of ethanol to glucose consumed was calculated to be 0.484 or 94.7% of its theoretical value of 0.511 when ethanol entrapped in the exhaust gas was incorporated. Meanwhile, quasi-steady states and non-steady oscillations were observed for residual glucose, ethanol and biomass concentrations for all of these bioreactors during their operations. Models that can be used to predict yeast cell lysis and viability loss were developed.

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