The thermotolerant, ethanol-producing yeast strain Kluyveromyces marxianus IMB3 has been immobilized in calcium alginate gel and poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel (PVAC) beads. The immobilized preparations were used as biocatalyst in fed-batch reactor systems for prolonged periods. The substrate utilized in each case consisted of sugar cane molasses diluted to yield a sugar load of 140 g/l. During the first cycle the maximum ethanol concentration produced by the alginate system was 57 g/l, representing 80% of the maximum theoretical yield. In the system employing the PVAC-immobilized biocatalyst, ethanol production increased to a maximum of 52-53 g/l, representing 73% of the maximum theoretical yield. In both cases, maximum ethanol concentration was achieved within a 72-hour period. When each system was operated on a fed-batch basis for a prolonged period of time the average ethanol concentrations produced in the alginate- and the PVAC-immobilized systems were 21 and 45 g/l, respectively. The results suggest that the PVAC-based immobilization system may provide a more practical alternative to alginate for the production of ethanol by K. marxianus IMB3 in continuous or semi-continuous fermentation systems.
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1998|