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Conversion of rice straw to bio-based chemicals: an integrated process using Lactobacillus brevis


Commercialization of lignocellulosic biomass as a feedstock for bio-based chemical production is problematic due to the high processing costs of pretreatment and saccharifying enzymes combined with low product yields. Such low product yield can be attributed, in large part, to the incomplete utilization of the various carbohydrate sugars found in the lignocellulosic biomass. In this study, we demonstrate that Lactobacillus brevis is able to simultaneously metabolize all fermentable carbohydrates in acid pre-processed rice straw hydrolysate, thereby allowing complete utilization of all released sugars. Inhibitors present in rice straw hydrolysate did not affect lactic acid production. Moreover, the activity of exogenously added cellulases was not reduced in the presence of growing cultures of L. brevis. These factors enabled the use of L. brevis in a process termed simultaneous saccharification and mixed sugar fermentation (SSMSF). In SSMSF with L. brevis, sugars present in rice straw hydrolysate were completely utilized while the cellulase maintained its maximum activity due to the lack of feedback inhibition from glucose and/or cellobiose. By comparison to a sequential hydrolysis and fermentation process, SSMSF reduced operation time and the amount of cellulase enzyme necessary to produce the same amount of lactic acid.

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