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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344983

Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Fermentation of sweet sorghum syrup to butanol in the presence of natural nutrients and inhibitors

Author
item Klasson, K Thomas
item Qureshi, Nasib
item Powell, Randall - Biodimensions Delta Bio-Renewables, Llc
item Heckemeyer, Matthew - Heckemeyer Mill
item Eggleston, Gillian

Submitted to: Sugar Tech
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2018
Publication Date: 5/1/2018
Citation: Klasson, K.T., Qureshi, N., Powell, R., Heckemeyer, M., Eggleston, G. 2018. Fermentation of sweet sorghum syrup to butanol in the presence of natural nutrients and inhibitors. Sugar Tech. 20(3):224-234.

Interpretive Summary: Sweet sorghum syrups represent a renewable raw material that can be available year-round for production of biofuels and biochemicals. Sweet sorghum sugars have been used as sources for butanol production in the past but most often the studies focused on sweet sorghum juice and not on sweet sorghum syrups. Therefore, we investigated the feasibility of using the syrups as feedstock. Initial studies showed that diluted sweet sorghum syrups could not be used as a direct replacement of a expensive growth medium for an industrial butanol-producing bacterium. Further studies revealed that additional chemical were required for successful fermentation. This was found true for two manufacturing sources of sweet sorghum syrups from commercial cultivars and hybrids. Typically, 15 g/L of total acetone, butanol, and ethanol were produced with approximately half of that being butanol. Aconitic acid, which was present at similar levels in both syrups, was ruled out as a butanol fermentation inhibitor at the fermentation pH>4.5.

Technical Abstract: Sweet sorghum syrups represent a renewable raw material that can be available year-round for production of biofuels and biochemicals. Sweet sorghum sugars have been used as sources for butanol production in the past but most often the studies focused on sweet sorghum juice and not on sweet sorghum syrups. Therefore, we investigated the feasibility of using the syrups as feedstock. Initial studies showed that diluted sweet sorghum syrups, to 60 g/L of glucose equivalents, could not be used as a direct replacement of a synthetic growth medium for industrial butanol-producing strain Clostridium beijerinckii. Further studies revealed that supplemental nutrients (most notably, phosphate and ammonium) were required for successful fermentation. This was found true for two manufacturing sources of sweet sorghum syrups from commercial cultivars and hybrids. Typically, 15 g/L of total acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) were produced with approximately half of that being butanol. Some minor statistical difference was noted between the production potential of the two sources of syrup. However, aconitic acid, which was present at similar levels in both syrups, was ruled out as a butanol fermentation inhibitor at the fermentation pH>4.5.