Ethanol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae in biofilm reactors

A. Demirci, A. L. Pometto, K. L.G. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Biofilms are natural forms of cell immobilization in which microorganisms attach to solid supports. At ISU, we have developed plastic composite-supports (PCS) (agricultural material (soybean hulls or oat hulls), complex nutrients, and polypropylene) which stimulate biofilm formation and which supply nutrients to the attached microorganisms. Various PCS blends were initially evaluated in repeated-batch culture-tube fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ATCC 24859) in low organic nitrogen medium. The selected PCS (40% soybean hull, 5% soybean flour, 5% yeast extract-salt and 50% polypropylene) was then used in continuous and repeated-batch fermentation in various media containing lowered nitrogen content with selected PCS. During continuous fermentation, S. cerevisiae demonstrated two to 10 times higher ethanol production in PCS bioreactors than polypropylene- alone support (PPS) control. S. cerevisiae produced 30 g L-1 ethanol on PCS with ammonium sulfate medium in repeated batch fermentation, whereas PPS- control produced 5 g L-1 ethanol. Overall, increased productivity in low cost medium can be achieved beyond conventional fermentations using this novel bioreactor design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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