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Kinetic Study of Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol Fermentation in Continuous Culture

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Acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation by clostridia has shown promise for industrial-scale production of biobutanol. However, the continuous ABE fermentation suffers from low product yield, titer, and productivity. Systems analysis of the continuous ABE fermentation will offer insights into its metabolic pathway as well as into optimal fermentation design and operation. For the ABE fermentation in continuous Clostridium acetobutylicum culture, this paper presents a kinetic model that includes the effects of key metabolic intermediates and enzymes as well as culture pH, product inhibition, and glucose inhibition. The kinetic model is used for elucidating the behavior of the ABE fermentation under the conditions that are most relevant to continuous cultures. To this end, dynamic sensitivity analysis is performed to systematically investigate the effects of culture conditions, reaction kinetics, and enzymes on the dynamics of the ABE production pathway. The analysis provides guidance for future metabolic engineering and fermentation optimization studies.

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