A viable method and configuration for fermenting biomass sugars to ethanol using native Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Bioresour Technol. 2012 Aug; 117:92-8.BT
A system that incorporates a packed bed reactor for isomerization of xylose and a hollow fiber membrane fermentor (HFMF) for sugar fermentation by yeast was developed for facile recovery of the xylose isomerase enzyme pellets and reuse of the cartridge loaded with yeast. Fermentation of pre-isomerized poplar hydrolysate produced using ionic liquid pretreatment in HFMF resulted in ethanol yields equivalent to that of model sugar mixtures of xylose and glucose. By recirculating model sugar mixtures containing partially isomerized xylose through the packed bed and the HFMF connected in series, 39 g/l ethanol was produced within 10h with 86.4% xylose utilization. The modular nature of this configuration has the potential for easy scale-up of the simultaneous isomerization and fermentation process without significant capital costs.