Submitted to: Biotechnology Letters
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/8/2006
Citation: Skinner-Nemec, K.A., Nichols, N.N., Leathers, T.D. 2007. Biofilm formation by bacterial contaminants of fuel ethanol production. Biotechnology Letters. 29:379-383. Interpretive Summary: Fundamental information is lacking on the problem of bacterial infections of fuel ethanol fermentations. For the first time, we tested the capacity of these contaminants to form biofilms on stainless steel surfaces. Results will be of interest to ethanol producers and researchers attempting to develop control methods.
Technical Abstract: Commercial fuel ethanol production facilities were previously shown to have characteristic populations of bacterial contaminants, which reduce product yield and are difficult to eradicate. In this study, bacterial contaminants were found for the first time to form biofilms under laboratory conditions. Fermentor samples from a commercial fuel ethanol production facility were used to inoculate a biofilm reactor, and purified bacterial isolates were identified. Biofilms were composed of many of the same species present in production samples, with lactic acid bacteria predominating.