SO2-catalyzed steam explosion of corn fiber for ethanol production
- Cite this article as:
- Bura, R., Mansfield, S.D., Saddler, J.N. et al. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2002) 98: 59. doi:10.1385/ABAB:98-100:1-9:59
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Corn fiber, a by-product of the corn wet-milling industry, represents a renewable resource that is readily available in significant quantities and could potentially serve as a low-cost feedstock for the production of fuel-grade alcohol. In this study, we used a batch reactor to steam explode corn fiber at various degrees of severity to evaluate the potential of using this feedstock in the bioconversion process. The results indicated that maximum sugar yields (soluble and following enzymatic hydrolysis) were recovered from corn fiber that was pretreated at 190°C for 5 min with 6% SO2. Sequential SO2-catalyzed steam explosion and enzymatic hydrolysis resulted in very high conversion (81%) of all polysaccharides in the corn fiber to monomeric sugars. Subsequently, Saccharomyces cerevisiae was able to convert the resultant corn fiber hydrolysates to ethanol very efficiently, yielding 90–96% of theoretical conversion during the fermentation process.