Submitted to: Biofilms
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 26, 2004
Publication Date: October 26, 2004
Citation: Skinner, K.A., Leathers, T.D. 2004. Biofilm formation by bacterial contaminants of fuel ethanol production. Biofilms 2004: Structure and Activity of Biofilms, October 24-26, 2004. Las Vegas, Nevada. p 210-214. Technical Abstract: Bacterial contamination is an ongoing problem for commercial fuel ethanol production facilities due to the fact that bacteria compete with the ethanol-producing yeast for sugar substrates and micronutrients. Data demonstrate that lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus species, are the most prevalent contaminants of corn based fuel ethanol production. In addition, individual production facilities proved to have characteristic bacterial flora, suggesting the stability of bacterial populations. Following up on that possibility, bacterial contaminants of commercial fuel ethanol production were found for the first time to form biofilms under laboratory conditions. Both planktonic isolates from the production facility and isolates recovered from biofilm test coupons were identified. Although lactic acid bacteria predominate in both environments, preliminary data suggest there is less diversity in biofilm populations and an increase in certain Lactobacillus species, along with the appearance of new species not seen in planktonic populations. These results are quite exciting and warrant further investigation.