Bioproduction of butanol from biomass: from genes to bioreactors

Thaddeus Chukwuemeka Ezeji, Nasib Qureshi, Hans Peter Blaschek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Butanol is produced chemically using either the oxo process starting from propylene (with H2 and CO over a rhodium catalyst) or the aldol process starting from acetaldehyde. The key problems associated with the bioproduction of butanol are the cost of substrate and butanol toxicity/inhibition of the fermenting microorganisms, resulting in a low butanol titer in the fermentation broth. Recent interest in the production of biobutanol from biomass has led to the re-examination of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation, including strategies for reducing or eliminating butanol toxicity to the culture and for manipulating the culture to achieve better product specificity and yield. Advances in integrated fermentation and in situ product removal processes have resulted in a dramatic reduction of process streams, reduced butanol toxicity to the fermenting microorganisms, improved substrate utilization, and overall improved bioreactor performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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