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Continuous alcoholic fermentation of glucose/xylose mixtures by co-immobilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida shehatae

Lebeau, T., Jouenne, J., Junter, G.A.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 1998 v.50 no.3 pp. 309-313
Candida shehatae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, agar, alcoholic fermentation, bioreactors, cell viability, ethanol, ethanol production, gels, glucose, immobilized cells, porous media, stainless steel, xylose, yeasts
Viable Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida shehatae cells were co-immobilized in a composite agar layer/microporous membrane structure. This immobilized-cell structure was placed in a vertical position between the two halves of a double-chambered, stainless-steel bioreactor of original design and applied to the continuous alcoholic fermentation of a mixture of glucose (35 g dm(-3)) and xylose (15 g dm(-3)). Various dilution rates and initial cell loadings of the gel layer were tested. Simultaneous consumption of the two sugars was always observed. The best fermentation performance was obtained at low dilution rate (0.02 h(-1)) with an excess of C. shehatae over S. cerevisiae in the initial cell loading of the gel (5.0 mg dry weight and 0.65 mg dry weight cm(-3) gel respectively): 100% of glucose and 73% of xylose were consumed with an ethanol yield coefficient of 0.48 g g total sugars(-1). In these conditions, however, the ethanol production rate per unit volume of gel remained low (0.37 g h(-1) dm(-3)). Viable cell counts in gel samples after incubation highlighted significant heterogeneities in the spatial distribution of the two yeast species in both the vertical and the transverse directions. In particular, the overall cell number decreased from the bottom to the top of the agar sheet, which may explain the low ethanol productivity relative to the total gel volume.