Simulated Inhibitory Effects of Typical Byproducts of Biomass Pretreatment Process on the Viability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Bioethanol Production Yield
The abundance of second generation feedstock reinforces the consideration of biofuel over fossil fuel, as bioethanol can be produced from lignocellulosic materials. However, the pretreatment required for oxidation of lignocellulose into hexose often results in the production of inhibitors likely to impede the activity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae during bioethanol production. This study aimed to investigate the comparative inhibitory effects of acetic acid and vanillin on the viability of S. cerevisiae and the production yield of bioethanol. Different concentrations of inhibitors were spiked in the fermentation broth then the production of bioethanol monitored overtime and correlated with cell viability. The results showed that the inhibition of S. cerevisiae by vanillin is more potent compared to acetic acid; however the reduction of bioethanol yield after 12 h was more pronounced with acetic acid (42.8% reduction) than with vanillin (33.3% reduction) which was ascribed to the simultaneous production of weak acids during the fermentation process. The viability test has shown that in the presence of lower concentrations of inhibitors, S. cerevisiae can adapt for the first 12 h of fermentation and then may improve ethanol production yield overtime. At lower concentrations (2 g/l vanillin and 4 g/l acetic acid) the effect of inhibitors on the viability of S. cerevisiae and ethanol productivity does not last and can be overcome by the adaptation of the yeast. However, the presence of higher concentrations (4 g/l vanillin and 6 g/l acetic acid) results to nearly total inhibition of bioethanol production and the remediation of such effect may therefore require a detoxification process.
Keywords: Bioethanol Production, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Inhibition, Acetic Acid, Vanillin, Cell Viability