Submitted to: Society of Industrial Microbiology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 14, 2003
Publication Date: August 14, 2003
Citation: Skinner, K.A., Leathers, T.D. 2003. Comparison of bacteria popularions among fuel ethanol plants [abstract]. Society of Industrial Microbiology. p. 104. Technical Abstract: Bacterial contamination is an ongoing problem for commercial fuel ethanol production facilities. Both chronic and acute infections are concerns. The bacteria compete with the ethanol producing yeast for sugar substrates. As a chronic situation, the bacteria represent a constant drain on carbon available for conversion to ethanol. As an acute occurrence, the bacterial infections may become so great as to cause the facility to close down for cleaning. Lactic acid levels often rise during bouts of contamination, suggesting that the most common contaminants are lactic acid bacteria. While control of the contamination is the ultimate goal, one first needs to identify and characterize the contaminants before a method of control can be devised. We collected dozens of ethanol production samples from various sources, time points, and locations along the production line. A few thousand isolates were then picked from these samples. Data so far demonstrate that most of the bacterial components are of the genus Lactobacillus. This is true for samples from both the dry grind and wet milling facilities. However, there are also variations among samples from different sampling dates and facilities, suggesting that bacterial populations are complex and may change over time.