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Continuous conversion of D-xylose to ethanol by immobilized Pachysolen tannophilus

Slininger, P.J., Bothast, R.J., Black, L.T., McGhee, J.E.
Biotechnology and bioengineering 1982 v.24 no.10 pp. 2241
Pachysolen tannophilus, yeasts, immobilized cells, alcoholic fermentation, ethanol production, ethanol, xylose, continuous fermentation, alginates, fermenters
The yeast Pachysolen tannophilus was entrapped in calcium alginate beads to ferment D-xylose on a continous basis in the presence of high cell densities. Experimental operating variables included the feed D-xylose concentration, the dilution rate, and the fermentor biomass concentration. Under favorable operating conditions, cultures retained at least 50% of their initial productivity after 26 days of operation. The specific ehanol production rate was dependent on the substrate level in the fermentor, passing through an optimum when the D-xylose concentration was between 28 and 35 g/L. Consequently, reactor productivity increased with dilution rate and feed D-xylose concentration until a maximum was reached. The ethanol content of the effluent always decreased with increasing dilution rate, but excessive dilution rates diminished the ethanol content without increasing productivity. Unlike production rate, ethanol yield declined monotonically from 0.35 g/g as the fermentor substrate concentration increased. The yield was 69% of that theoretically possible when the D-xylose concentration was near zero, as opposed to 42% when it was in the range supporting the optimum specific rate of ethanol production. As long as D-xylose was supplied to cells faster than they could consume it, productivity increased with the mass of cells immobilized. The effectiveness factor associated with the calcium alginte beads used in this system was 0.4, indicating that only 40% of the entrapped biomass was effective in converting D-xylose to ethanol because of diffusion limitations.