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Bioresour Technol. 2011 Feb;102(3):3254-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.11.050. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

End product yields from the extraruminal fermentation of various polysaccharide, protein and nucleic acid components of biofuels feedstocks.

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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, US Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


"Extraruminal" fermentations employing in vitro incubation of mixed ruminal bacterial consortia, are capable of converting a complex array of biomass materials to mixtures of volatile fatty acids (VFA), methane, and carbon dioxide. Most of the potential energy in the biomass feedstock is retained in the VFA products, which are potential reactants for electrochemical conversion to hydrocarbon fuels. Quantitative data on VFA yields and proportions from biomass components are necessary for determining industrial feasibility, but such measurements have not been systematically reported. VFA yields and proportions were determined for a variety of carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids. Carbohydrates yielded primarily acetic and propionic acids, while proteins also yielded a more favorable product mix (longer average chain length and branched chain VFAs). Addition of certain co-substrates (e.g., glycerol) favorably improved the VFA product mix. The results have implications for hydrocarbon fuel generation from biomass materials by hybrid fermentation/chemical processes.

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