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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Airtight storage of moist wheat grain improves bioethanol yields

Passoth, Volkmar; Eriksson, Anna; Sandgren, Mats; Ståhlberg, Jerry; Piens, Kathleen; Schnürer, Johan


Background: Drying is currently the most frequently used conservation method for cereal grain, which in temperate climates consumes a major part of process energy. Airtight storage of moist feed grain using the biocontrol yeast Pichia anomala as biopreservation agent can substantially reduce the process energy for grain storage. In this study we tested the potential of moist stored grain for bioethanol production.Results: The ethanol yield from moist wheat was enhanced by 14% compared with the control obtained from traditionally (dry) stored grain. This enhancement was observed independently of whether or not P. anomala was added to the storage system, indicating that P. anomala does not impair ethanol fermentation. Starch and sugar analyses showed that during pre-treatment the starch of moist grain was better degraded by amylase treatment than that of the dry grain. Additional pre-treatment with cellulose and hemicellulose-degrading enzymes did not further increase the total ethanol yield. Sugar analysis after this pre-treatment showed an increased release of sugars not fermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Conclusion: The ethanol yield from wheat grain is increased by airtight storage of moist grain, which in addition can save substantial amounts of energy used for drying the grain. This provides a new opportunity to increase the sustainability of bioethanol production.

Published in

Biotechnology for Biofuels
2009, Volume: 2, article number: 16

      SLU Authors

      • Sandgren, Mats

        • Department of Molecular Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • Ståhlberg, Jerry

          • Department of Molecular Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • Sustainable Development Goals

          SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
          SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

          UKÄ Subject classification

          Agricultural Science
          Renewable Bioenergy Research

          Publication identifier


          Permanent link to this page (URI)