Effects of nitrogenous substances on heat transfer fouling using model thin stillage fluids

J. You, D. B. Johnston, B. S. Dien, V. Singh, N. J. Engeseth, M. E. Tumbleson, K. D. Rausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fouling is unwanted deposition of materials on surfaces of processing equipment, which leads to additional capital investment and lower processing efficiency. During fuel ethanol production, fouling occurs when thin stillage is concentrated into condensed distillers solubles. Investigations of protein impact on fouling are limited despite high protein concentration in thin stillage (17–33% db). Protein contributions to fouling have been verified in the dairy industry. Whey proteins and calcium phosphate interact with each other or other proteins and form aggregates on heated surfaces. Due to the complex biological composition of thin stillage, it is difficult to study a single effect on fouling without interference from other factors. The objective was to investigate fouling properties of nitrogenous substances (urea and yeast) using model fluids; effects of protease addition on fouling properties of model and commercial thin stillage fluids. Urea addition did not lead to fouling while glucose-yeast model fluids displayed fouling tendencies. Protease from pineapple stem (bromelain) incubation increased fouling in model and commercial fluids, which were indicative that hydrolyzed molecules such as peptides, amino acids or protease can be involved in deposit formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Bioproducts Processing
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Ethanol production
  • Evaporator fouling
  • Fouling
  • Model fluid
  • Thin stillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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