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An attempt towards simultaneous biobased solvent based extraction of proteins and enzymatic saccharification of cellulosic materials from distiller's grains and solubles

Datta, Saurav, Bals, B.D., Lin, Yupo J., Negri, M.C., Datta, R., Pasieta, L., Ahmad, Sabeen F., Moradia, Akash A., Dale, B.E., Snyder, Seth W.
Bioresource technology 2010 v.101 no.14 pp. 5444-5448
cellulose, cellulosic materials, coproducts, corn, distillers grains, dry milling, esters, ethanol production, hydrolysis, hydrophobicity, lactates, mass transfer, proteins, saccharification, solvents, sugars
Distiller's grains and solubles (DGS) is the major co-product of corn dry mill ethanol production, and is composed of 30% protein and 30-40% polysaccharides. We report a strategy for simultaneous extraction of protein with food-grade biobased solvents (ethyl lactate, d-limonene, and distilled methyl esters) and enzymatic saccharification of glucan in DGS. This approach would produce a high-value animal feed while simultaneously producing additional sugars for ethanol production. Preliminary experiments on protein extraction resulted in recovery of 15-45% of the protein, with hydrophobic biobased solvents obtaining the best results. The integrated hydrolysis and extraction experiments showed that biobased solvent addition did not inhibit hydrolysis of the cellulose. However, only 25-33% of the total protein was extracted from DGS, and the extracted protein largely resided in the aqueous phase, not the solvent phase. We hypothesize that the hydrophobic solvent could not access the proteins surrounded by the aqueous phase inside the fibrous structure of DGS due to poor mass transfer. Further process improvements are needed to overcome this obstacle.