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Production of ethanol from winter barley by the EDGE (enhanced dry grind enzymatic) process

Biotechnology for Biofuels. 2010;3(1):8 DOI 10.1186/1754-6834-3-8


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Biotechnology for Biofuels

ISSN: 1754-6834 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Technology: Chemical technology: Fuel | Technology: Chemical technology: Biotechnology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Kurantz M

Senske G

Johnston DB

Hicks KB

Nghiem NP

Li M

Shetty J

Konieczny-Janda G


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>US legislation requires the use of advanced biofuels to be made from non-food feedstocks. However, commercialization of lignocellulosic ethanol technology is more complex than expected and is therefore running behind schedule. This is creating a demand for non-food, but more easily converted, starch-based feedstocks other than corn that can fill the gap until the second generation technologies are commercially viable. Winter barley is such a feedstock but its mash has very high viscosity due to its high content of β-glucans. This fact, along with a lower starch content than corn, makes ethanol production at the commercial scale a real challenge.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>A new fermentation process for ethanol production from Thoroughbred, a winter barley variety with a high starch content, was developed. The new process was designated the EDGE (enhanced dry grind enzymatic) process. In this process, in addition to the normal starch-converting enzymes, two accessory enzymes were used to solve the β-glucan problem. First, β-glucanases were used to hydrolyze the β-glucans to oligomeric fractions, thus significantly reducing the viscosity to allow good mixing for the distribution of the yeast and nutrients. Next, β-glucosidase was used to complete the β-glucan hydrolysis and to generate glucose, which was subsequently fermented in order to produce additional ethanol. While β-glucanases have been previously used to improve barley ethanol production by lowering viscosity, this is the first full report on the benefits of adding β-glucosidases to increase the ethanol yield.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>In the EDGE process, 30% of total dry solids could be used to produce 15% v/v ethanol. Under optimum conditions an ethanol yield of 402 L/MT (dry basis) or 2.17 gallons/53 lb bushel of barley with 15% moisture was achieved. The distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) co-product had extremely low β-glucan (below 0.2%) making it suitable for use in both ruminant and mono-gastric animal feeds.</p>