Bioethanol production from steam-exploded rice husk by recombinant Escherichia coli KO11

  • Takamitsu Tabata
  • Yusuke Yoshiba
  • Tomonori Takashina
  • Kazuo Hieda
  • Norio Shimizu
Original Paper


Rice husk is one of the most abundant types of lignocellulosic biomass. Because of its significant amount of sugars, such as cellulose and hemicellulose, it can be used for the production of biofuels such as bioethanol. However, the complex structure of lignocellulosic biomass, consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, is resistant to degradation, which limits biomass utilization for ethanol production. The protection of cellulose by lignin contributes to the recalcitrance of lignocelluloses to hydrolysis. Therefore, we conducted steam-explosion treatment as pretreatment of rice husk. However, recombinant Escherichia coli KO11 did not ferment the reducing sugar solution obtained by enzymatic saccharification of steam-exploded rice husk. When the steam-exploded rice husk was washed with hot water to remove inhibitory substances and M9 medium (without glucose) was used as a fermentation medium, E. coli KO11 completely fermented the reducing sugar solution obtained by enzymatic saccharification of hot water washing-treated steam-exploded rice husk to ethanol. We report here the efficient production of bioethanol using steam-exploded rice husk.


Bioethanol Escherichia coli KO11 Inhibition Rice husk Steam explosion 



This work was supported in part by a Grant for the Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities S1101017 since April 2011 (to NS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Life SciencesToyo UniversityGunmaJapan
  2. 2.Frontier Foods Co. Ltd.TokyoJapan
  3. 3.Bio-Nano Electronics Research CenterToyo UniversitySaitamaJapan

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