- 3:35 PM

Microbial Conditioning of Corn Stover to Increase Ethanol Yield

Naresh Budhavaram1, Aarti Gidh1, Swetha Mahalaxmi1, Dr. Clint W. Williford1, and Alfred Mikell2. (1) Chemical Engineering, The University of Mississippi, Anderson Hall, University, MS 38677, (2) Biological Engineering, The University of Mississippi, Anderson Hall, University, MS 38677

Our aim is to use bacterial sources for conditioning which would enhance the ethanol yield by depolymerizing lignin. Inoculum sources for lignin depolymerization were screened. Sources were cultures from dissection of guts of various insects like termites, beetles etc., that are known to digest wood. Fourteen sources from fore gut, mid gut and hind gut of Betsy beetle were selected and weight loss experiments were conducted on the pretreated and unpretreated cornstover. Experiments were conducted for 120hrs. Out of the fourteen sources four sources that were from the mid gut showed weight loss in pretreated corn stover. Insignificant weight loss was seen in unpretreated corn stover. SSF experiments are being conducted using the selected sources from weight loss experiments on both pretreated and unpretreated corn stover stock, and the ethanol yield will be monitored. Biolog studies are being carried out to know the characteristics of the isolates from the beetle gut. Thermophiles and a specific lignin degrading bacteria from sludge are being screened. SSF experiments will be conducted using these sources .The effects of the microbes at different conditions like temperature and pH will also be monitored. HPLC (RI detector) is being used to track the ethanol and sugars yields.