Bioresource Technology, Volume 169, 2014, Pages 162-168.
William J. Hunter, Daniel K. Manter.
USDA–ARS, 2150-D Centre Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119, USA.
Furfural is an inhibitor of growth and ethanol production by Zymomonas mobilis. This study used a naturally occurring (not GMO) biological pre-treatment to reduce that amount of furfural in a model fermentation broth. Pre-treatment involved inoculating and incubating the fermentation broth with strains of Leuconostoc mesenteroides or Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides. The Leuconostoc strains converted furfural to furfuryl alcohol without consuming large amounts of dextrose in the process. Coupling this pre-treatment to ethanolic fermentation reduced furfural in the broth and improved growth, dextrose uptake and ethanol formation. Pre-treatment permitted ethanol formation in the presence of 5.2 g L−1 furfural, which was otherwise inhibitive. The pre-treatment and presence of the Leuconostoc strains in the fermentation broth did not interfere with Z. mobilis ethanolic fermentation or the amounts of ethanol produced. The method suggests a possible technique for reducing the effect that furfural has on the production of ethanol for use as a biofuel.