Sequential Targeting of Xylose and Glucose Conversion in Fed-Batch Simultaneous Saccharification and Co-fermentation of Steam-Pretreated Wheat Straw for Improved Xylose Conversion to Ethanol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Efficient conversion of both glucose and xylose in lignocellulosic biomass is necessary to make second-generation bioethanol from agricultural residues competitive with first-generation bioethanol and gasoline. Simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF) is a promising strategy for obtaining high ethanol yields. However, with this method, the xylose-fermenting capacity and viability of yeast tend to decline over time and restrict the xylose utilization. In this study, we examined the ethanol production from steam-pretreated wheat straw using an established SSCF strategy with substrate and enzyme feeding that was previously applied to steam-pretreated corn cobs. Based on our findings, we propose an alternative SSCF strategy to sustain the xylose-fermenting capacity and improve the ethanol yield. The xylose-rich hydrolyzate liquor was separated from the glucose-rich solids, and phases were co-fermented sequentially. By prefermentation of the hydrolyzate liquor followed fed-batch SSCF, xylose, and glucose conversion could be targeted in succession. Because the xylose-fermenting capacity declines over time, while glucose is still converted, it was advantageous to target xylose conversion upfront. With our strategy, an overall ethanol yield of 84% of the theoretical maximum based on both xylose and glucose was reached for a slurry with higher inhibitor concentrations, versus 92% for a slurry with lower inhibitor concentrations. Xylose utilization exceeded 90% after SSCF for both slurries. Sequential targeting of xylose and glucose conversion sustained xylose fermentation and improved xylose utilization and ethanol yield compared with fed-batch SSCF of whole slurry.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Systems


  • Co-fermentation, Ethanol, Lignocellulose, Prefermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Xylose
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-810
JournalBioenergy Research
Issue number3
Early online date2017 May 11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep
Publication categoryResearch