Treatment of corn stover with aqueous ammonia removes most of the structural lignin, whereas retaining the majority of the carbohydrates in the solids. After treatment, both the cellulose and hemicellulose in corn stover become highly susceptible to enzymatic digestion. In this study, corn stover treated by aqueous ammonia was investigated as the substrate for lactic acid production by simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF). A commercial cellulase (Spezyme-CP) and Lactobacillus pentosus American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) 8041 (Spanish Type Culture Collection [CECT]-4023) were used for hydrolysis and fermentation, respectively. In batch SSCF operation, the carbohydrates in the treated corn stover were converted to lactic acid with high yields, the maximum lactic acid yield reaching 92% of the stoichiometric maximum based on total fermentable carbohydrates (glucose, xylose, and arabinose). A small amount of acetic acid was also produced from pentoses through the phosphoketolase pathway. Among the major process variables for batch SSCF, enzyme loading and the amount of yeast extract were found to be the key factors affecting lactic acid production. Further tests on nutrients indicated that corn steep liquor could be substituted for yeast extract as a nitrogen source to achieve the same lactic acid yield. Fed-batch operation of the SSCF was beneficial in raising the concentration of lactic acid to a maximum value of 75.0 g/L.
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Zhu, Y., Lee, Y.Y. & Elander, R.T. Conversion of aqueous ammonia-treated corn stover to lactic acid by simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 137, 721–738 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12010-007-9092-9