Inhibition of Pichia stipitis fermentation of hydrolysates from olive tree cuttings

  • Manuel J. Díaz
  • Encarnación Ruiz
  • Inmaculada Romero
  • Cristóbal Cara
  • Manuel Moya
  • Eulogio CastroEmail author
Original Paper


The ethanolic fermentation of liquid fractions (hydrolysates) issued from dilute acid pre-treatment of olive tree biomass by Pichia stipitis is reported for the first time. On the one side, P. stipitis has been reported as the most promising naturally occurring C5 fermenting microorganism; on the other side, olive tree biomass is a renewable, low cost, and lacking of alternatives agricultural residue especially abundant in Mediterranean countries. The study was performed in two steps. First, the fermentation performance of P. stipitis was evaluated on a fermentation medium also containing the main inhibitors found in these hydrolysates (acetic acid, formic acid, and furfural), as well as glucose and xylose as carbon sources. The effect of inhibitors, individually or in a mixture, on kinetic and yield parameters was calculated. In a second step, hydrolysates obtained from 1% (w/w) sulfuric acid pre-treatment of olive tree biomass at 190°C for 10 min were used as a real fermentation medium with the same microorganism. Due to inhibition, effective fermentation required dilution of the hydrolysate and either overliming or activated charcoal treatment. Results show that ethanol yields obtained from hydrolysates, ranging from 0.35 to 0.42 g/g, are similar to those from synthetic medium, although the process proceeds at lower rates. Inhibiting compounds affect the fermentation performance in a synergistic way. Furfural is rapidly assimilated by the yeast; acetic acid and formic acid concentrations decrease slowly during the process. Activated charcoal or overliming detoxification improve the fermentability of diluted hydrolysates.


Detoxification Ethanol Fermentation inhibition Olive tree biomass Pichia stipitis 



This work was partially financed by Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) under Project ref. D/9619/07, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Project ENE2005-08822) and FEDER funds. Financial support from Azucareras Reunidas de Jaén, S. A. is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel J. Díaz
    • 1
  • Encarnación Ruiz
    • 1
  • Inmaculada Romero
    • 1
  • Cristóbal Cara
    • 1
  • Manuel Moya
    • 1
  • Eulogio Castro
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Environmental and Materials EngineeringUniversity of JaénJaénSpain

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