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Open Access Research article

Fermentation performance and physiology of two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae during growth in high gravity spruce hydrolysate and spent sulphite liquor

Emma Johansson12*, Charilaos Xiros1 and Christer Larsson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden

2 SP Processum AB, 891 22 Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:47  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-47

Published: 21 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Lignocellulosic materials are a diverse group of substrates that are generally scarce in nutrients, which compromises the tolerance and fermentation performance of the fermenting organism. The problem is exacerbated by harsh pre-treatment, which introduces sugars and substances inhibitory to yeast metabolism. This study compares the fermentation behaviours of two yeast strains using different types of lignocellulosic substrates; high gravity dilute acid spruce hydrolysate (SH) and spent sulphite liquor (SSL), in the absence and presence of yeast extract. To this end, the fermentation performance, energy status and fermentation capacity of the strains were measured under different growth conditions.

Results

Nutrient supplementation with yeast extract increased sugar uptake, cell growth and ethanol production in all tested fermentation conditions, but had little or no effect on the energy status, irrespective of media. Nutrient-supplemented medium enhanced the fermentation capacity of harvested cells, indicating that cell viability and reusability was increased by nutrient addition.

Conclusions

Although both substrates belong to the lignocellulosic spruce hydrolysates, their differences offer specific challenges and the overall yields and productivities largely depend on choice of fermenting strain.

Keywords:
Lignocellulosic material; Nutrients; Energy charge; Fermentation capacity; High gravity fermentation