Water Hyacinth as a Potential Source of Biofuel for Sustainable Development

  • Deepmoni Deka
  • Saprativ P. Das
  • Rajeev Ravindran
  • Mohammad Jawed
  • Arun Goyal
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 84)


Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a noxious weed and fast growing perennial aquatic plant found in lakes and ponds all over Guwahati is affecting the ecosystem in a deleterious manner. It tampers with aquatic life by deoxygenating the water and depleting nutrients for young fish in sheltered bays. It also blocks supply intakes for the hydroelectric plant, interrupting electrical power. Contrastingly, owing to high cellulose and hemicellulose content in its biomass and having a wide distribution in Assam, it was selected for our study. Therefore, using water hyacinth for bioethanol production can tackle the pollution problem owing to fossil fuel emissions and control its growing extent in water bodies. In the present research, water hyacinth was used for bioethanol production involving simultaneous hydrolysis and fermentation at shake flask and reactor level using different saccharifying enzymes and potential fermentative microbes. Candida shehatae, utilizing pentoses was used along with Saccharomyces cerevisiae in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) experiments. The substrate was subjected to three pretreatments viz. wet oxidation, phosphoric acid–acetone treatment and ammonia fibre expansion (AFEX). Recombinant E. coli BL21 (DE3) and BL21 (plysS) cells harbouring expressing Glycoside hydrolase family 5 (GH5) and family 43 (GH43) genes from Clostridium thermocellum were employed for cellulase and hemicellulase production respectively. Trichoderma reesei cellulase and Bacillus subtilis AS3 producing thermostable cellulases were also engaged in saccharification process. The wet oxidation-treated water hyacinth conferred an ethanol titre of 0.90 g/L with B. subtilis cellulase and 1.26 g/L with T. reesei cellulase amid a fermentative microbial combination of S. cerevisiae and C. shehatae. A higher ethanol titre (1.69 g/L) was achieved with an enzymatic consortium of GH5 cellulase and GH43 hemicellulase along with S. cerevisiae and C. shehatae. Contrastingly, AFEX pretreatment yielded a maximum ethanol titre of 1.98 g/L with same enzymatic consortium and bioethanol producers. Consequently, on scaling up the SSF experiments with 5% (w/v) AFEX-pretreated substrate in shake flask and bioreactor along with S. cerevisiae and C. shehatae, an ethanol titre of 9.78 and 17.97 g/L were obtained respectively.


Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation Bacillus subtilis Trichoderma reesei Saccharomyces cerevisiae Candida shehatae Wet oxidation Phosphoric acid Acetone AFEX 


  1. Adam EG (2011) Cellulase, types and action, mechanisms and uses. Nova Science Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlos M, Anne BT (2007) Wet oxidation pretreatment of lignocellulosic residues of sugarcane, rice, cassava and peanuts for ethanol production. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 82:174–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Casey GP, Ingledew WM (1986) Ethanol tolerance in yeasts. Crit Rev Microbiol 13:219–280Google Scholar
  5. Crispen M, Rajni H, Remigio Z, Bo M (2000) Purification and characterization of cellulases produced by two Bacillus strains. J Biotechnol 83:177–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Deka D, Bhargavi P, Sharma A, Goyal D, Jawed M, Goyal A (2011) Enhancement of cellulase activity from a new strain of Bacillus subtilis by medium optimization and analysis with various cellulosic substrates. Enzyme Res.  https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/151656
  7. Fontes CMGA, Gilbert HJ (2010) Cellulosomes: highly efficient nanomachines designed to deconstruct plant cell wall complex carbohydrates. Ann Rev Biochem 79:655–681Google Scholar
  8. Garlock RJ, Wong YS, Balan V, Dale BE (2011) AFEX pretreatment and enzymatic conversion of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) to soluble sugars. Bioenergy Res.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12155-011-9134-6 Google Scholar
  9. Kadam KL, Schmidt SL (1997) Evaluation of Candida acidothermophilum in ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 48:709–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li H, Kim NJ, Jiang M, Kang JW, Chang HN (2009) Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of lignocellulosic residues pretreated with phosphoric acid-acetone for bioethanol production. Biores Technol 100:3245–3251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McMillan JD (1994) Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. In: Himmel ME, Baker JO, Overend RP (eds) Enzymatic conversion of biomass for fuels production. ACS symposium Series, Washington, vol 566, pp 292–324Google Scholar
  12. Mosier NS, Wyman C, Dale B, Elander R, Lee YY, Holtzapple M, Ladisch MR (2005) Features of promising technologies for pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Biores Technol 96:673–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mutreja R, Das D, Goyal D, Goyal A (2011) Bioconversion of agricultural waste to ethanol by SSF using recombinant cellulase from Clostridium thermocellum. Enzyme Res.  https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/340279 Google Scholar
  14. Nelson N (1944) A photometric adaptation of the Somogyi method for the determination of glucose. J Biol Chem 153:375–380Google Scholar
  15. Reddy HK, Srijana M, Reddy MD, Reddy G (2010) Coculture fermentation of banana agro-waste to ethanol by cellulolytic thermophilic Clostridium thermocellum CT2. Afr J Biotechnol 9:1926–1934Google Scholar
  16. Saha BC, Nichols NN, Qureshi N, Cotta MA (2011) Comparison of separate hydrolysis and fermentation and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation processes for ethanol production from wheat straw by recombinant Escherichia coli strain FBR5. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 92:865–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Santos DS, Camelo AC, Rodrigues KCP, Carlos LC, Pereira N Jr (2010) Ethanol production from sugarcane bagasse by Zymomonas mobilis using simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 161:93–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Seo HB, Kim HJ, Jung HK (2009) Measurement of ethanol concentration using solvent extraction and dichromate oxidation and its application bioethanol production process. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 36:285–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Singh HD, Nag B, Sharma AK, Baruah JN (1984) Nutrient control of water hyacinth growth and productivity. In: Thyagarajan G (ed) Water hyacinth. UNEP report and proceedings series 7, UNEP, Nairobi, pp 243–263Google Scholar
  20. Sluiter B, Hames R, Ruiz C, Scarlata J, Sluiter D, Templeton D (2008) Determination of structural carbohydrates and lignin in biomass. Laboratory Analytical Procedures (LAPs). Technical Report NREL/TP-510, 42618Google Scholar
  21. Somogyi M (1945) A new reagent for the determination of sugars. J Biol Chem 160:61–68Google Scholar
  22. Tagaki M, Abe S, Suzuki S, Emert GH, Yata N (1977) A method for production of alcohol directly from cellulose using cellulase and yeast. In: Proceedings of bioconversion of cellulosic substances into energy, chemicals and microbial protein. pp 551–571Google Scholar
  23. Taylor EJ, Goyal A, Guerreiro CIPD, Prates JAM, Money VA, Ferry N, et al (2005) How family 26 glycoside hydrolases orchestrate catalysis on different polysaccharides: structure and activity of a Clostridium thermocellum lichenase, Ctlic26A. J Biol Chem 280:32761–32767Google Scholar
  24. Wickerman LJ (1951) Taxonomy of yeasts. In: US Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 1029, Washington, pp 1–56Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deepmoni Deka
    • 1
  • Saprativ P. Das
    • 2
  • Rajeev Ravindran
    • 2
  • Mohammad Jawed
    • 1
  • Arun Goyal
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for the EnvironmentIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

Personalised recommendations