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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2012 Sep;168(1):21-8. Epub 2011 May 18.

Characteristics of an immobilized yeast cell system using very high gravity for the fermentation of ethanol.

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Beijing Key Lab of Bioprocess, College of Life Science and Technology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China.


The characteristics of ethanol production by immobilized yeast cells were investigated for both repeated batch fermentation and continuous fermentation. With an initial sugar concentration of 280 g/L during the repeated batch fermentation, more than 98% of total sugar was consumed in 65 h with an average ethanol concentration and ethanol yield of 130.12 g/L and 0.477 g ethanol/g consumed sugar, respectively. The immobilized yeast cell system was reliable for at least 10 batches and for a period of 28 days without accompanying the regeneration of Saccharomyces cerevisiae inside the carriers. The multistage continuous fermentation was carried out in a five-stage column bioreactor with a total working volume of 3.75 L. The bioreactor was operated for 26 days at a dilution rate of 0.015 h(-1). The ethanol concentration of the effluent reached 130.77 g/L ethanol while an average 8.18 g/L residual sugar remained. Due to the high osmotic pressure and toxic ethanol, considerable yeast cells died without regeneration, especially in the last two stages, which led to the breakdown of the whole system of multistage continuous fermentation.

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