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Intensifying ethanol production from brewer’s spent grain waste: Use of whole slurry at high solid loadings

Pinheiro, Tânia, Coelho, Eduardo, Romaní, Aloia, Domingues, Lucília
New biotechnology 2019 v.53 pp. 1-8
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, autohydrolysis, brewers grains, chemical composition, cost effectiveness, ethanol, ethanol production, fermentation, glucose, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, renewable resources, saccharification, slurries, spent grains, sustainable technology, wastes
This work targets the valorization of brewer’s spent grain (BSG) waste by ethanol production, providing strategies for increasing titers in the multiple process steps involved. High solid loadings and use of whole slurry from the pretreatment were evaluated, aiming to achieve high ethanol concentration and yield. As variability in BSG chemical composition presents a challenge for their valorization, six different BSGs were chemically characterized, which allowed the selection of two with high polysaccharide content. High solid loadings (up to 25%) were employed for the pretreatment of selected BSGs by autohydrolysis, an environmentally friendly process, to improve enzymatic saccharification and extract fermentable sugars as oligosaccharides and monosaccharides. As a result, high glucose concentrations (43.7 and 57.7 g L−1) and glucose yield (85.9 and 70.6%) were obtained from the saccharification of the pretreated BSG whole slurry at 20 and 25% solid loading, respectively. Whole slurries from autohydrolysis were used as substrate for ethanol production by hybrid saccharification and fermentation. Two different Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains were evaluated and high ethanol concentration (42.27 g L−1) at a high yield (94.0%) was achieved. The results attained by the combined intensification approaches qualify BSG waste as a valuable renewable resource for cost-effective ethanol production.