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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Renewable Product Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #265757

Title: Bacterial contamination of commercial starch-based ethanol production

item Bischoff, Kenneth
item Leathers, Timothy
item Rich, Joseph

Submitted to: International Starch Technology Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2011
Publication Date: 6/8/2011
Citation: Bischoff, K.M., Leathers, T.D., Rich, J.O. 2011. Bacterial contamination of commercial starch-based ethanol production. Proceedings of the International Starch Technology Conference. p. 58-64.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Control and treatment of bacterial contamination may be a critical control point for decreasing costs and improving efficiency of both starch and cellulosic ethanol production. Commercial fuel ethanol is not produced under sterile, pure-culture conditions, and consequently bacterial contamination is a recurring problem. The offending microbes are generally species of lactic acid bacteria that drain the sugar available for conversion to ethanol and scavenge essential micronutrients required for optimal yeast growth. Acute infections occur unpredictably, and bacterial byproducts such as acetic and lactic acids inhibit yeast growth, which may result in "stuck" fermentations. Antibiotics are frequently used to control bacterial contamination but drug resistance and regulatory constraints may limit the future use and effectiveness of antibiotics. Biotechnology can supplement or replace antibiotics for effective contamination control in commercial fuel ethanol production.