Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 78, Issue 1–3, pp 359–372 | Cite as

Ethanol production from corn starch in a fluidized-bed bioreactor

  • Mahesh S. Krishnan
  • Nhuan P. NghiemEmail author
  • Brian H. Davison


The production of ethanol from industrial dry-milled corn starch was studied in a laboratory-scale fluidized-bed bioreactor using immobilized biocatalysts. Saccharification and fermentation were carried out either simultaneously or separately. Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) experiments were performed using small, uniform κ-carrageenan beads (1.5–2.5 mm in diameter) of co-immobilized glucoamylase and Zymomonas mobilis. Dextrin feeds obtained by the hydrolysis of 15% drymilled corn starch were pumped through the bioreactor at residence times of 1.5–4h. Single-pass conversion of dextrins ranged from 54–89%, and ethanol concentrations of 23–36 g/L were obtained at volumetric productivities of 9–15 g/L-h. Very low levels of glucose were observed in the reactor, indicating that saccharification was the rate-limiting step. In separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) experiments, dextrin feed solutions of 150–160 g/L were first pumped through an immobilized-glucoamylase packed column. At 55°C and a residence time of 1 h, greater than 95% conversion was obtained, giving product streams of 162–172 g glucose/L. These streams were then pumped through the fluidized-bed bioreactor containing immobilized Z. mobilis. At a residence time of 2 h, 94% conversion and ethanol concentration of 70 g/L were achieved, resulting in an overall process productivity of 23 g/L-h. Atresidence times of 1.5 and 1 h, conversions of 75 and 76%, ethanol concentrations of 49 and 47 g/L, and overall process productivities of 19 and 25 g/L-h, respectively, were achieved.

Index Entries

Ethanol dry-milled corn starch Zymomonas mobilis glucoamylase fluidized-bed reactor 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahesh S. Krishnan
    • 1
  • Nhuan P. Nghiem
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian H. Davison
    • 1
  1. 1.Bioprocessing Research and Development CenterOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak Ridge

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