Research Article - (2016) Volume 5, Issue 2

Bioethanol Production Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae with Different Perspectives: Substrates, Growth Variables, Inhibitor Reduction and Immobilization

Bharti Bhadana* and Madhulika Chauhan
Department of Biotechnology, FET, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, Haryana, India
*Corresponding Author: Bharti Bhadana, Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Manav Rachna International Universtiy, Faridabad, Haryana, India, Tel: +91 8750717616 Email:


In the transportation sector, the most commonly used biofuel is ‘bioethanol’ to reduce greenhouse gases. Ethanol production at the industrial level is employed by many yeast, bacteria, and fungi. But Saccharomyces Cerevisiae is most employed yeast. Wide range of substrates has been used for ethanol production such as lignocellulose, molasses, sweat sorghum cane extract, starch based substrate and other wastes. Lignocellulosic hydrolysates contain many inhibitors that can be reduced by treatment with activated charcoal and reducing agents, repeated sequential fermentation, over-liming, evaporation, anion exchanger, enzymatic treatment using peroxidase and laccase, and in-situ detoxification with fermenting microbes. Co-culturing of S. Cerevisiae with other microbes is targeted for optimization of ethanol production, short fermentation time, and for reduced process cost. Yeast cell immobilization has been considered as a potential alternative to enhance ethanol productivity. This paper also reviews the effects of various factors on yeast fermentation for ethanol optimization.

Keywords: Bioethanol; S. cerevisiae ; Lignocellulose; Fermentation; immobilization


As the world population and industrialization are increasing, the demand for energy is also increasing. Therefore, the cost of coal, natural gas, and crude oil is increasing. Thus the uncertainty of the fossil fuel and global climate changes have led to renewable energy development. Among biofuels biodiesel, biogas and bioethanol are dominant renewable energy. In the transportation sector, bioethanol is the most commonly used biofuel. Several substrates have been used for ethanol production such as lignocelluloses, starch, and different wastes [1]. Lignocellulosic biomass (LCB) is more preferred for ethanol production because of the two major reasons: a) it does not compete with food, b) it takes care of plant and agricultural residues in environmentally sustainable process [2,3]. Due to high processing cost, cellulosic ethanol production at industrial level is still a challenge. The major reason for the high cost is the consumption of high steam energy for distillation of fermentation broth with the low ethanol titer when LCB is used as feedstock [4]. Higher feedstock price is the second reason for the high cost of ethanol production [5,6]. Ethanol titer can be upgraded by different pretreatment methods that increase cellulosic content in fermentation system [3,7] and hence reduces the cost. Various microorganisms carry out fermentation such as yeast, fungi, and bacteria. But S. cerevisiae is widely studied and used at both household and industrial levels. Ethanol is generated as the main fermentation product of S. cerevisiae . S. cerevisiae is superior to filamentous fungi, bacteria and other yeasts in its various physiological characteristics for ethanol production at industrial level. It can tolerate wide range of pH [8] with acidic pH as optimum [9], which protects contamination. It can also tolerate ethanol better than other ethanol producers [10]. It is also GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for human consumption. This paper reviews trends for ethanol production using S. cerevisiae with different perspectives like substrates, growth variables, inhibitors reduction from hydrolysate and different immobilization techniques.

Substrate for Yeast

Nonfood source acts as the substrate for ethanol production. Various substrates have been used for ethanol production (Table 1).

S. cerevisiae strains Substrate Pretreatment Enzymatic hydrolysis (g/l) Ethanol Produced
TISTR 5596 starch cassava pulp   Amaylase andglucoamylase 9.9
ATCC 26602 Wheat straw H2O2 cellulase 10
SOL/M5 Leaf and stem of Dendratherma Grandiflora   Crude extract from Pleurotus ostreatus 10.64
Baker yeast Sticky coffee husks     13.6
MTCC 174 Rice husks Na OH Crude unprocessed
ATCC 96581 Waste newspaper sodium dodecyl sulphate Cellulase andglucosidase 14.29
RCK-1 newspaper cellulosics   exoglucanase,glucosidase and xylanases with tween 80 and CoCl2 5.64
Y5 Corn stover Steam explosion cellulase 40
TJ14 Microcrystalline
  Commercial cellulase 45
DQ1 Corn stover H2SO4
supplemented with
Cellulase 48
Y5 Corn stover Steam explosion Cellulase and glucodiase 50
DQ1 Corn stover steam explosion Cellulase 55
L2524a Empty palm fruit
bunch fibers
Alkali (NaOH) Cellulase 64.2
var. ellipsoideus Corn meal   Heat stable –amylase and glucoamylase 79.6
ATCC 6508 Sweet potato chips   Amylase and glucomylase 104.3

Table 1: Different Substrates for S. cerevisiae for Ethanol Production at varying Treatment Conditions.

Ethanol production from nonfood sources provide two advantages: a) cost of waste disposal is reduced, b) since wastes are cheap, thus the cost of ethanol production is also reduced.

Reduction of Inhibitors in Hydrolysates

During hydrolysis, various inhibitors are generated that pose hindrances for ethanol production, such as inhibition of cell growth and sugar consumption during yeast cultivation. Such inhibitors arefurfural, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), acetic acid, formic acid, and phenolic compounds etc. Various approaches are being used to solve this problem, such as- a) repeated sequential fermentation so that yeast can adapt the inhibitory chemicals, b) over-liming [10-27], c) anion exchanger [28], d) activated charcoal addition [25], e) treatment with reducing agents [29], f) evaporation [10], g) in-situ detoxification by fermenting microbes [30,31], h) enzymatic treatment with peroxidase and laccase [32], i) membrane extraction [33] and, j) solvent extraction [32]. In biological methods, enzymes or the microorganisms are used to detoxify the inhibitors in co-culture. Sequential co-culturing of S.cerevisiae and Thermoanaerobacter pentosaceus was found to reduce inhibitory compounds and also enhance ethanol production [30]. According to results, T. pentosaceus was able to metabolize furfural and HMF up to 0.5 and 1 g/L, respectively. Phenolic compounds were also detoxified from Trametes versicolor using immobilized laccase [28]. Activated charcoal treatment, neutralization, solvent extraction, ion exchanger and over-liming are chemical treatment methods. Activated charcoal treatment reduces the inhibitors due to their high adsorption capacity and also shorten the fermentation time [26]. Evaporation helps in the reduction of volatile inhibiting compounds in LCB hydrolysates [10]. Over-liming detoxifies the inhibitors by precipitating them at high pH [27]. Precipitation reduces levulinic acid and acetic acid by neutralization chemistry principle.

Factors Affecting Rate of Yeast Fermentation

There are many factors that could affect the rate of yeast fermentation [8], like - a) type of carbohydrate, b) concentration of carbohydrate, c) concentration of salt, d) osmolarity, e) ethanol concentration, f) pH, g) temperature. Optimum temperature for S. cerevisiae is 30-40°C. Higher temperature shorten the exponential phase of yeast cell [8]. At 50°C, ethanol production is considerably reduced due to change in transport system that can increase toxin accumulation in the cell [8]. Optimum pH for S. cerevisiae was found to be 4.0-5.0 [8]. Below 4.0, the incubation period was prolonged and favored the formation of acetic acid and above 5.0, the concentration of ethanol diminished subsequently and it also favored butyric acid production [8]. Thus various parameters affect ethanol production that must be optimized to enhance ethanol productivity.

Immobilization to Improve Ethanol Productivity

Calcium or sodium alginate and agar-agar cubes are commonly used immobilizing agents [7]. Also, several studies have been done to investigate new immobilizing agents that are cheap and easy to use (Table 2). Yeast immobilization enhances ethanol productivity because- a) it reduces risk of contamination [33-35], b) it makes it easy to separate cell mass for the bulk liquid [36-43], c) it reduces production costs [18,36,42], d) biocatalyst can be recycled [43], e) fermentation time can be reduced [7,18], f) cells can be protected from inhibitors [44] g) more ethanol production compared to free cells [7,18,38,35].

S. cerevisiae Strain Substrate Initial sugar (g/l) Residual Sugar Immobilizing materials Ethanol produced Ethanol yield
MTCC 174 Sugar cane Bagasse 50 22 Agar-agar cubes 9.4 0.33
Baker yeast Glucose 100 16 Lyophilized cellulose gel 36.12 0.43
MTCC 174 Sugar cane Bagasse 50 15 Sugar cane bagasse 15.4 0.44
CBS 8066 Glucose 30 0.3 Alginate-chitosan beads 13.37 0.45
CTCRI Mahula flowers 89.75 7.99 Luffa sponge discs 37.2 0.455
Mutant baker Glucose + Sucrose 280 7.21 Sweet sorghum pith 130.12 0.477
TISTR 5048 Sweet sorghum 240 26.69 Corncobs 102.39 0.48
NP 01 Sweet sorghum Juice 240 54.8 Corncobs 90.75 0.49
Baker yeast Cashew apple juice 70.01 3.92 Cashew apple bagasse 36.91 0.49
DTN Sugar beetMolases 130 6.3 Alginate-maize stem ground tissue 60.36 0.493
Saccharomyces cerevisiae var.
Corn mealhydrolysates 176 8.02 Calcium alginate 89.68 0.52
Pakmaya Yeast Company Glucose 120 6.03 Sodium alginate grafted with N-vinyl-
69.68 0.697

Table 2: Enhancement of Ethanol Production using different immobilizing agents.

Conclusion and Future Perspectives

Starch and molasses have been used for ethanol production for long period of time, but they lead to competition for food with respect to land and price. Therefore, LCB is being used to solve such challenges. Ethanol production at industrial level is not successful due to two major reasons- a) low ethanol titer, b) different inhibitors in hydrolysates. Various optimization techniques are being used to enhance ethanol titer. Adsorption with activated charcoal, over liming, treatment with reducing agents, solvent and membrane extractions potentially reduce inhibitors to enhance ethanol titer. Immobilization of yeast cells is another strategy for optimization of production process in less cost manner. Thus lignocellulose pretreatment and fermentation are still an area of research interest. At present, transformation and over-expression of a gene for specific traits (eg cellulase) in yeast can be fruitful to solve challenges such as inability to use ribose and polysaccharide. Hence, an economic process analysis is required for the development of an industrially suitable production strategy to solve our energy crisis by producing more ethanol in a stable way.


Citation: Bhadana B, Chauhan M (2016) Bioethanol Production Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae with Different Perspectives: Substrates, Growth Variables, Inhibitor Reduction and Immobilization. Ferment Technol 5:131.

Copyright: © 2016 Bhadana B, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.