Background: As the supply of starch grain and sugar cane, currently the main feedstocks for bioethanol production, become limited, lignocelluloses will be sought as alternative materials for bioethanol production. Production of cellulosic ethanol is still cost-inefficient because of the low final ethanol concentration and the addition of nutrients. We report the use of simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF) of lignocellulosic residues from commercial furfural production (furfural residue, FR) and corn kernels to compare different nutritional media. The final ethanol concentration, yield, number of live yeast cells, and yeast-cell death ratio were investigated to evaluate the effectiveness of integrating cellulosic and starch ethanol. Results: Both the ethanol yield and number of live yeast cells increased with increasing corn-kernel concentration, whereas the yeast-cell death ratio decreased in SSCF of FR and corn kernels. An ethanol concentration of 73.1 g/L at 120 h, which corresponded to a 101.1% ethanol yield based on FR cellulose and corn starch, was obtained in SSCF of 7.5% FR and 14.5% corn kernels with mineral-salt medium. SSCF could simultaneously convert cellulose into ethanol from both corn kernels and FR, and SSCF ethanol yield was similar between the organic and mineral-salt media. Conclusions: Starch ethanol promotes cellulosic ethanol by providing important nutrients for fermentative organisms, and in turn cellulosic ethanol promotes starch ethanol by providing cellulosic enzymes that convert the cellulosic polysaccharides in starch materials into additional ethanol. It is feasible to produce ethanol in SSCF of FR and corn kernels with mineral-salt medium. It would be cost-efficient to produce ethanol in SSCF of high concentrations of water-insoluble solids of lignocellulosic materials and corn kernels. Compared with prehydrolysis and fed-batch strategy using lignocellulosic materials, addition of starch hydrolysates to cellulosic ethanol production is a more suitable method to improve the final ethanol concentration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful for the financial support of this research from National Science Foundation of China (31070510) and Major State Basic Research Projects of China (973-2010CB732204). Special thanks to Novozymes A/S (Bagsvaerd, Denmark) for their generous gift of cellulase and b-glucosidase. We also thank our colleagues for their valuable suggestions during the course of this work.