Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 110, Issue 7, pp 971–983 | Cite as

A simple scaled down system to mimic the industrial production of first generation fuel ethanol in Brazil

  • Vijayendran RaghavendranEmail author
  • Thalita Peixoto Basso
  • Juliana Bueno da Silva
  • Luiz Carlos Basso
  • Andreas Karoly Gombert
Original Paper


Although first-generation fuel ethanol is produced in Brazil from sugarcane-based raw materials with high efficiency, there is still little knowledge about the microbiology, the biochemistry and the molecular mechanisms prevalent in the non-aseptic fermentation environment. Learning-by-doing has hitherto been the strategy to improve the process so far, with further improvements requiring breakthrough technologies. Performing experiments at an industrial scale are often expensive, complicated to set up and difficult to reproduce. Thus, developing an appropriate scaled down system for this process has become a necessity. In this paper, we present the design and demonstration of a simple and effective laboratory-scale system mimicking the industrial process used for first generation (1G) fuel ethanol production in the Brazilian sugarcane mills. We benchmarked this system via the superior phenotype of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae PE-2 strain, compared to other strains from the same species: S288c, baker’s yeast, and CEN.PK113-7D. We trust that such a system can be easily implemented in different laboratories worldwide, and will allow a better understanding of the S. cerevisiae strains that can persist and dominate in this industrial, non-aseptic and peculiar environment.


Acid treatment Cell recycling Ethanol Saccharomyces cerevisiae Scale down Viability Yeast physiology 



Otávio do Prado, Ricardo Luiz Dalia, Eliane Christina Mota and Camila de Souza Varize from ESALQ are acknowledged for their assistance during the fed-batch cultivations; Lab manager Mrs Priscila Hofmann Carvalho is thanked for her assistance during the HPLC analysis.


This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo [Grant Number 2015/14109-0 to AKG] and Programa Nacional de Pós DoutoradoCoordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior [to VR] for the scholarship awarded to him to carry out his postdoctoral research within the ‘Ph.D. program in Bioenergy’, involving the University of Campinas (Unicamp), the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of the State of São Paulo (Unesp).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants and/or animals performed by any of the authors. The formal consent is not required in this study.

Supplementary material

10482_2017_868_MOESM1_ESM.docx (354 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 354 kb)
10482_2017_868_MOESM2_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Food Engineering, LEMeBUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesEscola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, USPPiracicabaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Biological EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGöteborgSweden

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