One of the major challenges faced in commercial production of lignocellulosic bioethanol is the inhibitory compounds generated during the thermo-chemical pre-treatment step of biomass. These inhibitory compounds are toxic to fermenting micro-organisms. The ethanol yield and productivity obtained during fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysates is decreased due to the presence of inhibiting compounds, such as weak acids, furans and phenolic compounds formed or released during thermo-chemical pre-treatment step such as acid and steam explosion. This review describes the application and/or effect of biological detoxification (removal of inhibitors before fermentation) or use of bioreduction capability of fermenting yeasts on the fermentability of the hydrolysates. Inhibition of yeast fermentation by the inhibitor compounds in the lignocellulosic hydrolysates can be reduced by treatment with enzymes such as the lignolytic enzymes, for example, laccase and micro-organisms such as Trichoderma reesei, Coniochaeta ligniaria NRRL30616, Trametes versicolor, Pseudomonas putida Fu1, Candida guilliermondii, and Ureibacillus thermosphaericus. Microbial and enzymatic detoxifications of lignocellulosic hydrolysate are mild and more specific in their action. The efficiency of enzymatic process is quite comparable to other physical and chemical methods. Adaptation of the fermentation yeasts to the lignocellulosic hydrolysate prior to fermentation is suggested as an alternative approach to detoxification. Increases in fermentation rate and ethanol yield by adapted micro-organisms to acid pre-treated lignocellulosic hydrolysates have been reported in some studies. Another approach to alleviate the inhibition problem is to use genetic engineering to introduce increased tolerance by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for example, by overexpressing genes encoding enzymes for resistance against specific inhibitors and altering co-factor balance. Cloning of the laccase gene followed by heterologous expression in yeasts was shown to provide higher enzyme yields and permit production of laccases with desired properties for detoxification of lignocellulose hydrolysates. A combination of more inhibitor-tolerant yeast strains with efficient feed strategies such as fed-batch will likely improve lignocellulose-to-ethanol process robustness.
South Africa has numerous thermal springs that represent topographically driven meteoric water migrating along major fracture zones. The temperature (40–70°C) and pH (8–9) of the thermal springs in the Limpopo Province are very similar to those of the low salinity fracture water encountered in the South African mines at depths ranging from 1.0 to 3.1 km. The major cation and anion composition of these thermal springs are very similar to that of the deep fracture water with the exception of the dissolved inorganic carbon and dissolved O2, both of which are typically higher in the springs than in the deep fracture water. The in situ biological relatedness of such thermal springs and the subsurface fracture fluids that feed them has not previously been evaluated. In this study, we evaluated the microbial diversity of six thermal spring and six subsurface sites in South Africa using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene hypervariable regions. Proteobacteria were identified as the dominant phylum within both subsurface and thermal spring environments, but only one genera, Rheinheimera, was identified among all samples. Using Morisita similarity indices as a metric for pairwise comparisons between sites, we found that the communities of thermal springs are highly distinct from subsurface datasets. Although the Limpopo thermal springs do not appear to provide a new window for viewing subsurface bacterial communities, we report that the taxonomic compositions of the subsurface sites studied are more similar than previous results would indicate and provide evidence that the microbial communities sampled at depth are more correlated to subsurface conditions than geographical distance.
Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms that can produce lipids, proteins and carbohydrates in large amounts and within short periods of time and these can be processed into both biofuels and other useful commercial products. Due to this reason microalgae are considered as a potential source of renewable energy; and one of the most important decisions in obtaining oil from microalgae is the choice of species. In this study, the potential of Chlorophyceae species isolated from freshwater and soda lakes in Hungary and Romania (Central Europe) were characterized and evaluated by determining their biomass accumulation, lipid productivity, fatty acid profiles, and biodiesel properties besides protein and carbohydrate productivity. Out of nine strains tested, three accumulated more than 40% dry weight of protein, four accumulated more than 30% dry weight of carbohydrate and the strain Chlorella vulgaris LC8 accumulated high lipid content (42.1% ± 2.6%) with a favorable C16-C18 fatty acid profile (77.4%) as well as suitable biodiesel properties of high cetane number (57.3), low viscosity (4.7 mm 2 /s), lower iodine number (75.18 g I2/100 g), relative cloud point (8.8 °C) and negative cold filter plugging point (−6.5 °C). Hence the
OPEN ACCESSEnergies 2015, 8 7503 new strain, Chlorella vulgaris LC8 has potential as a feedstock for the production of excellent quality biodiesel.
Recalcitrant xenobiotic compounds are a major source of concern due to their resistance to degradation and persistency in the environment. Xenobiotic compounds pose a serious threat to the environment as they tend to distort the nutrient cycling and affect non-target organisms. These recalcitrant compounds include heavy metals, halocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic compounds, synthetic polymers, alkyl benzyl sulphonates, nitroaromatics, dioxins, synthetic dyes, chlorophenols, certain herbicides and pesticides as well as lignins that are ubiquitous in nature. Xenobiotic compounds find their way into the environment either through intentional release as happens with pesticides and herbicides spray or accidentally in the form of oil spills and persist as sediments and complexes, thereby reducing the quality of soil and water bodies and consequently creating the need for removal and/ or remediation processes. White rot fungi which degrade the most recalcitrant natural polymer, lignin, have been shown to degrade a wide range of recalcitrant xenobiotic compounds. Recently, the use of co-cultures of white rot has been a subject of research. Owing to the variation in the ligninolytic machinery and rates of degradation, the use of co-cultures is attractive as it offers the advantage of combining the degradative capabilities of different fungi to bring about complete degradation of the parent compounds as well as the metabolites.
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