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Butanol production from concentrated lactose/whey permeate: Use of pervaporation membrane to recover and concentrate product

N. Qureshi, A. Friedl, I. S. Maddox
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2014 v.98 no.23 pp. 9859-9867
acetone, artificial membranes, butanol, energy, ethanol, fermentation, lactose, pervaporation, whey
In these studies, butanol (acetone butanol ethanol or ABE) was produced from concentrated lactose/whey permeate containing 211 g L⁻¹ lactose. Fermentation of such a highly concentrated lactose solution was possible due to simultaneous product removal using a pervaporation membrane. In this system, a productivity of 0.43 g L⁻¹ h⁻¹ was obtained which is 307 % of that achieved in a non-product removal batch reactor (0.14 g L⁻¹ h⁻¹) where approximately 60 g L⁻¹ whey permeate lactose was fermented. The productivity obtained in this system is much higher than that achieved in other product removal systems (perstraction 0.21 g L⁻¹ h⁻¹ and gas stripping 0.32 g L⁻¹ h⁻¹). This membrane was also used to concentrate butanol from approximately 2.50 g L⁻¹ in the reactor to 755 g L⁻¹. Using this membrane, ABE selectivities and fluxes of 24.4–44.3 and 0.57–4.05 g m⁻² h⁻¹ were obtained, respectively. Pervaporation restricts removal of water from the reaction mixture thus requiring significantly less energy for product recovery when compared to gas stripping.