Continuous ethanol production with a membrane bioreactor at high acetic acid concentrations
Journal article, 2014

The release of inhibitory concentrations of acetic acid from lignocellulosic raw materials during hydrolysisis one of the main concerns for 2nd generation ethanol production. The undissociated form of acetic acid can enter the cell by diffusion through the plasma membrane and trigger several toxic effects, such as uncoupling and lowered intracellular pH. The effect ofacetic acid on the ethanol production was investigated in continuous cultivationsby adding medium containing 2.5 to 20.0 g·L -1 acetic acid at pH 5.0, at a dilution rate of 0.5 h -1. The cultivations were performed at both high (~25 g·L -1) and very high (100-200 g·L -1) yeast concentration by retaining the yeast cells inside the reactor by a cross-flow membrane ina membrane bioreactor. The yeast was able to steadily produce ethanol from 25 g·L -1 sucrose, at volumetric rates of 5-6 g·L -1 ·h -1 at acetic acid concentrations up to 15.0 g·L -1. However, the yeast continued to produce ethanol also at a concentration of 20 g·L -1 acetic acid but at a declining rate. The study thereby demonstrates the great potential ofthe membrane bioreactor for improving the robustness of the ethanol production based on lignocellulosic raw materials. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Cell retention

Membrane bioreactor


Acetic acid


Päivi Ylitervo

University of Borås

Industrial Biotechnology

Carl Johan Franzén

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Industrial biotechnology

Mohammad Taherzadeh Esfahani

University of Borås


2077-0375 (ISSN)

Vol. 4 3 372-387

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Bioprocess Technology



Other Industrial Biotechnology



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