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Features of sweet sorghum juice and their performance in ethanol fermentation
- Wu, Xiaorong, Staggenborg, Scott, Propheter, Johathan L., Rooney, William L., Yu, Jianming, Wang, Donghai
- Industrial crops and products 2010 v.31 no.1 pp. 164-170
- fermentation, fuel production, storage temperature, sugar crops, batch systems, harvest date, food processing quality, glycerol, storage time, storage quality, ethanol production, crop management, autoclaving, microbial contamination, agronomic traits, pH, biofuels, Sorghum bicolor, sweet sorghum, bacteria
- As demand for and production of fuel ethanol increase to unprecedented levels, feedstocks for ethanol production will become more diverse. Sweet sorghum is an ideal feedstock for fuel ethanol production in the Southeast and Midwest. Sweet sorghum juices usually contain approximately 16-18% fermentable sugar, which can be directly fermented into ethanol by yeast. Technical challenges of using sweet sorghum for biofuels are a short harvest period for highest sugar content and fast sugar degradation during storage. This study showed that as much as 20% of the fermentable sugars can be lost in 3 days at room temperature because of activities of contaminating bacteria, which lead to significant increases in bacterial count and decreases in pH values. No significant changes in pH value, sugar contents, and sugar profiles were observed in juices stored in a refrigerator. Fermentation efficiencies of fresh juice, autoclaved juice, and concentrated juice with 20% sugar were higher than 93% in the laboratory shake flask batch process. Fermentation of concentrated juices with 25% and 30% sugars were not complete. Significant amount of fermentable sugars remained in the finished beers of these concentrated juices. Glycerol contents in finished beers from concentrated juices were higher than in beers from normal juices. These results help to identify the most important factors affecting the quality of sweet sorghum juice under different processing and storage conditions, enabling development of effective strategies to process the juice, preserve fermentable sugars, and retain the processing properties of the juice during processing, transportation, and storage.