Clostridium thermocellum/Clostridium thermolacticum co-culture fermentation has been shown to be a promising way of producing ethanol from several carbohydrates. In this research, immobilization techniques using sodium alginate and alkali pretreatment were successfully applied on this co-culture to improve the bio-ethanol fermentation performance during consolidated bio-processing (CBP). The ethanol yield obtained increased by over 60 % (as a percentage of the theoretical maximum) as compared to free cell fermentation. For cellobiose under optimized conditions, the ethanol yields were approaching about 85 % of the theoretical efficiency. To examine the feasibility of this immobilization co-culture on lignocellulosic biomass conversion, untreated and pretreated aspen biomasses were also used for fermentation experiments. The immobilized co-culture shows clear benefits in bio-ethanol production in the CBP process using pretreated aspen. With a 3-h, 9 % NaOH pretreatment, the aspen powder fermentation yields approached 78 % of the maximum theoretical efficiency, which is almost twice the yield of the untreated aspen fermentation.
- Clostridium sp