BioEnergy Research

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 1014–1021 | Cite as

Fermentation of Dilute Acid Pretreated Populus by Clostridium thermocellum, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, and Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis

  • Kelsey L. Yee
  • Miguel RodriguezJr
  • Choo Y. Hamilton
  • Scott D. Hamilton-Brehm
  • Olivia A. Thompson
  • James G. Elkins
  • Brian H. Davison
  • Jonathan R. Mielenz


Consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), which merges enzyme production, biomass hydrolysis, and fermentation into a single step, has the potential to become an efficient and economic strategy for the bioconversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks to transportation fuels or chemicals. In this study, we evaluated wild-type Clostridium thermocellum, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, and Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis, three thermophilic, cellulolytic, mixed-acid fermenting candidate CBP microorganisms, for their fermentation capabilities using dilute acid pretreated Populus as a model biomass feedstock. Under pH-controlled anaerobic fermentation conditions, each candidate successfully digested a minimum of 75 % of the cellulose from dilute acid pretreated Populus, as indicated by an increase in planktonic cells and end-product metabolites and a concurrent decrease in glucan content. C. thermocellum, which employs a cellulosomal approach to biomass degradation, required approximately 50 h to achieve 75 % cellulose utilization. In contrast, the noncellulosomal, secreted hydrolytic enzyme system of the Caldicellulosiruptor sp. required about 100 h after a significant lag phase to achieve similar results. End-point fermentation conversions for C. thermocellum, C. bescii, and C. obsidiansis were determined to be 0.29, 0.34, and 0.38 g of total metabolites per gram of loaded glucan, respectively. These data provide a starting point for future strain engineering efforts that can serve to improve the biomass fermentation capabilities of these three promising candidate CBP platforms.


Clostridium thermocellum Caldicellulosiruptor bescii Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis Consolidated bioprocessing Dilute acid pretreated Populus Thermophilic fermentation 



Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation


Consolidated bioprocessing


Dilute acid pretreatment


Hot water


High-performance liquid chromatography


American Type Culture Collection



This research was funded by the Bioenergy Science Center (BESC) which is a US Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science. The pretreatment of the Populus sample was performed by Robert Sykes and others at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, Oak Ridge, TN, USA, for the DOE under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ Contributions

KLY planned the work, conducted the experiments, and wrote the manuscript. MR Jr helped conduct experiments, assisted in data acquisition/analysis, and edited the manuscript. CYH helped conduct experiments. SDHB helped with enumeration of planktonic cells and edit the manuscript. OAT edited the manuscript. JRM helped plan the experiments and edited the manuscript. BHD and JGE helped plan and edit the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

12155_2015_9659_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (59 kb)
Figures S1 Time course profile of the biomass residual glucan and xylan content for C. thermocellum on dilute acid pretreated Populus (5 g/L dry biomass). (PPTX 59 kb)
12155_2015_9659_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (58 kb)
Figure S2 Time course profile of the biomass residual glucan and xylan content for C. obsidiansis on dilute acid pretreated Populus (5 g/L dry biomass). (PPTX 57 kb)
12155_2015_9659_MOESM3_ESM.pptx (59 kb)
Figure S3 Time course profile of the biomass residual glucan and xylan content for C. bescii on dilute acid pretreated Populus (5 g/L dry biomass). (PPTX 59 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelsey L. Yee
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Miguel RodriguezJr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Choo Y. Hamilton
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Scott D. Hamilton-Brehm
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Olivia A. Thompson
    • 1
    • 2
  • James G. Elkins
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brian H. Davison
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonathan R. Mielenz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Biosciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.BioEnergy Science CenterOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  3. 3.University of Tennessee, Institute of AgricultureCenter for Renewable CarbonKnoxvilleUSA
  4. 4.White Cliff BiosystemsRockwoodUSA
  5. 5.Division of Earth and Ecosystem SciencesDessert Research InstituteLas VegasUSA
  6. 6.Genomatica Inc.San DiegoUSA

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