Ethanol fermentation of various pretreated and hydrolyzed substrates at low initial pH

Zsófia Kádár, San Feng Maltha, Zsolt Szengyel, Kati Réczey, Wim De Laat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


Lignocellulosic materials represent an abundant feedstock for bioethanol production. Because of their complex structure pretreatment is necessary to make it accessible for enzymatic attack. Steam pretreatment with or without acid catalysts seems to be one of the most promising techniques, which has already been applied for large variety of lignocellulosics in order to improve enzymatic digestibility. During this process a range of toxic compounds (lignin and sugar degradation products) are formed which inhibit ethanol fermentation. In this study, the toxicity of hemicellulose hydrolysates obtained in the steam pretreatment of spruce, willow, and corn stover were investigated in ethanol fermentation tests using a yeast strain, which has been previously reported to have a resistance to inhibitory compounds generated during steam pretreatment. To overcome bacterial contamination, fermentations were carried out at low initial pH. The fermentability of hemicellulose hydrolysates of pretreated lignocellulosic substrates at low pH gave promising results with the economically profitable final 5 vol% ethanol concentration corresponding to 85% of theoretical. Adaptation experiments have shown that inhibitor tolerance of yeast strain can be improved by subsequent transfer of the yeast to inhibitory medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-858
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1-12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Bioethanol
  • Inhibitors
  • Lignocellulose
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Toxicity
  • Yeast adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology

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