Energies 2013, 6(3), 1604-1617; doi:10.3390/en6031604

Impact of Furfural on Rapid Ethanol Production Using a Membrane Bioreactor

1 School of Engineering, University of Borås, 501 90 Borås, Sweden 2 Industrial Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 January 2013; in revised form: 26 February 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 11 March 2013
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Abstract: A membrane bioreactor was developed to counteract the inhibition effect of furfural in ethanol production. Furfural, a major inhibitor in lignocellulosic hydrolyzates, is a highly toxic substance which is formed from pentose sugars released during the acidic degradation of lignocellulosic materials. Continuous cultivations with complete cell retention were performed at a high dilution rate of 0.5 h−1. Furfural was added directly into the bioreactor by pulse injection or by addition into the feed medium to obtain furfural concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 21.8 g L−1. At all pulse injections of furfural, the yeast was able to convert the furfural very rapidly by in situ detoxification. When injecting 21.8 g L−1 furfural to the cultivation, the yeast converted it by a specific conversion rate of 0.35 g g−1 h−1. At high cell density, Saccharomyces cerevisiae could tolerate very high furfural levels without major changes in the ethanol production. During the continuous cultures when up to 17.0 g L−1 furfural was added to the inlet medium, the yeast successfully produced ethanol, whereas an increase of furfural to 18.6 and 20.6 g L−1 resulted in a rapidly decreasing ethanol production and accumulation of sugars in the permeate. This study show that continuous ethanol fermentations by total cell retention in a membrane bioreactor has a high furfural tolerance and can conduct rapid in situ detoxification of medium containing high furfural concentrations.
Keywords: ethanol; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; membrane bioreactor; cross-flow filtration; furfural conversion kinetics

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ylitervo, P.; Franzén, C.J.; Taherzadeh, M.J. Impact of Furfural on Rapid Ethanol Production Using a Membrane Bioreactor. Energies 2013, 6, 1604-1617.

AMA Style

Ylitervo P, Franzén CJ, Taherzadeh MJ. Impact of Furfural on Rapid Ethanol Production Using a Membrane Bioreactor. Energies. 2013; 6(3):1604-1617.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ylitervo, Päivi; Franzén, Carl J.; Taherzadeh, Mohammad J. 2013. "Impact of Furfural on Rapid Ethanol Production Using a Membrane Bioreactor." Energies 6, no. 3: 1604-1617.

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