Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.69, No.3, 330-338, 2000
On-line control of fed-batch fermentation of dilute-acid hydrolyzates
Dilute-acid hydrolyzates from lignocellulose are, to a varying degree, inhibitory to yeast. In the present work, dilute-acid hydrolyzates from spruce, birch, and forest residue, as well as synthetic model media, were fermented by Saccharomyces cerevisiae in fed-batch cultures. A control strategy based on on-line measurement of carbon dioxide evolution (CER) was used to control the substrate feed rate in a lab scale bioreactor. The control strategy was based solely on the ratio between the relative increase in CER and the relative increase in feed rate. Severely inhibiting hydrolyzates could be fermented without detoxification and the time required for fermentation of moderately inhibiting hydrolyzates was also reduced. The feed rate approached a limiting value for inhibiting media, with a corresponding pseudo steady-state value for CER. However, a slow decrease of CER with time was found for media containing high amounts of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF). The success of the control strategy is explained by the conversion of furfural and HMF by the yeast during fed-batch operation. The hydrolyzates contained between 1.4 and 5 g/l of furfural and between 2.4 and 6.5 g/l of HMF. A high conversion of furfural was obtained (between 65-95%) at the end of the feeding phase, but the conversion of HMF was considerably lower (between 12-40%).