Mathematical modeling of the fermentation of acid-hydrolyzed pyrolytic sugars to ethanol by the engineered strain Escherichia coli ACCC 11177
The application of pyrolytic sugars for biofuel production through fermentation is challenged by inhibitory contaminant compounds. Inhibition is so severe that only 0.25% sugar syrup can be used. In this study, overliming was tested as a simple detoxification method, using the Escherichia coli KO11+ lgk to directly convert levoglucosan into ethanol. After treatment with at least 14.8 g/L of Ca(OH)2, fermentation with 2% (w/v) pyrolytic sugar syrup was observed with no inhibition of ethanol production. Further investigation of treatment time and temperature showed that 8-16 h of treatment at 20°C, and 1-4 h of treatment at 60°C are necessary to obtain consistent ethanol production. The samples treated with 18.5 g/L Ca(OH)2 at 60°C for 4 h showed no inhibition at 2.5%. Multiple contaminants removed by the overliming treatment were identified. This study demonstrates that overliming is a promising method for detoxification of pyrolytic sugars for fermentation.