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Fate of virginiamycin through the fuel ethanol production process

Bischoff, Kenneth M., Zhang, Yanhong, Rich, Joseph O.
World journal of microbiology & biotechnology 2016 v.32 no.5 pp. 76
antibacterial properties, antibiotic residues, bacterial contamination, bioassays, coproducts, corn, distillers grains, ethanol, ethanol fuels, ethanol production, fermentation, fermenters, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, syrups, virginiamycin
Antibiotics are frequently used to prevent and treat bacterial contamination of commercial fuel ethanol fermentations, but there is concern that antibiotic residues may persist in the distillers grains coproducts. A study to evaluate the fate of virginiamycin during the ethanol production process was conducted in the pilot plant facilities at the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, Edwardsville, IL. Three 15,000-liter fermentor runs were performed: one with no antibiotic (F1), one dosed with 2 parts per million (ppm) of a commercial virginiamycin product (F2), and one dosed at 20 ppm of virginiamycin product (F3). Fermentor samples, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and process intermediates (whole stillage, thin stillage, syrup, and wet cake) were collected from each run and analyzed for virginiamycin M and virginiamycin S using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry method. Virginiamycin M was detected in all process intermediates of the F3 run. On a dry-weight basis, virginiamycin M concentrations decreased approximately 97 %, from 41 μg/g in the fermentor to 1.4 μg/g in the DDGS. Using a disc plate bioassay, antibiotic activity was detected in DDGS from both the F2 and F3 runs, with values of 0.69 μg virginiamycin equivalent/g sample and 8.9 μg/g, respectively. No antibiotic activity (<0.6 μg/g) was detected in any of the F1 samples or in the fermentor and process intermediate samples from the F2 run. These results demonstrate that low concentrations of biologically active antibiotic may persist in distillers grains coproducts produced from fermentations treated with virginiamycin.