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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MICROBIAL CATALYSTS TO PRODUCE FUEL ETHANOL AND VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS Title: Lactic Acid Bacteria – Friend or Foe? Lactic Acid Bacteria in the Production of Polysaccharides and Fuel Ethanol

Authors
item Rich, Joseph
item Bischoff, Kenneth
item Leathers, Timothy
item Cote, Gregory
item Liu, Siqing

Submitted to: KKU Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 28, 2009
Publication Date: August 28, 2009
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/46825
Citation: Rich, J.O., Bischoff, K.M., Leathers, T.D., Cote, G.L., Liu, S. 2010. Lactic acid bacteria – Friend or Foe? Lactic acid bacteria in the production of Polysaccharides and fuel ethanol. KKU Research Journal. 15(5):424-435.

Interpretive Summary: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been widely used in the food industry, including fermented foods (e.g., sauerkraut, vinegar) and dairy products (e.g., yogurt and cheese). In recent years, we have developed improved LAB strains for the production of alternan and novel alternan derivatives, including a lower molecular weight form that more closely mimics gum Arabic. This alternan technology led to the development of sucromalt, a low-glycemic index sweetener produced by Cargill that appears in the Glucerna line of diabetic foods. More recently, we have explored LAB as microbial catalysts for the production of fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. LAB are well suited for ethanol production due to their ability to utilize a range of mixed substrates and their high tolerance to industrial process conditions. Nevertheless, these same characteristics also make LAB prolific contaminants of fuel ethanol fermentations, creating a costly problem for the ethanol industry. We have isolated bacterial contaminants from a variety of US fuel ethanol production facilities and developed a reliable "stuck" fermentation model that will be useful in developing effective intervention strategies to control bacterial contamination in commercial fermentation cultures and improve overall productivity.

Technical Abstract: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been widely used in the production of fermented foods and as probiotics. Alternan is a glucan with a distinctive backbone structure of alternating a-(1,6) and a-(1,3) linkages produced by the LAB Leuconostoc mesenteroides. In recent years, we have developed improved strains for production of alternan and novel derivatives, including a lower molecular weight form that more closely mimics gum Arabic. Alternan oligosaccharides were produced using enzyme-catalyzed acceptor reactions and have potential as second generation prebiotics. This Alternan technology led to the development of sucromalt, a low-glycemic index sweetener produced by Cargill that appears in the Glucerna line of diabetic foods. More recently, LAB have been investigated as microbial catalysts for production of fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. LAB are well suited for ethanol production due to their ability to utilize a range of mixed substrates and their high tolerance to environmental ethanol concentrations. Neverthelesss, these same characteristics also make LAB prolific contaminants of fuel ethanol fermentations, creating a costly problem for the ethanol industry. We have isolated bacterial contaminants from a variety of US fuel ethanol production facilities and determined their antibiotic susceptibility. These strains were used to develop a reliable "stuck" fermentation model that will be useful in developing effective intervention strategies to control bacterial contamination in commercial fermentation cultures. At the same time, we are also engineering the metabolism of various strains of LAB to produce liquid fuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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