Fermentative Biobutanol Production: An Old Topic with Remarkable Recent Advances

Yi Wang, Holger Janssen, Hans P. Blaschek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Butanol (stands for n-butanol in this chapter, if not otherwise indicated) can be used as an excellent fuel source and a valuable chemical feedstock for various industries. In the past decades, almost all butanol were produced through the petrochemical synthesis route. The high price of the crude oil and various environmental problems caused by consumption of fossil fuels have renewed the interest in biobutanol production through the acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation process from renewable resources. ABE fermentation has a history of over 150 years. With the new attention on this old topic, remarkable advances occurred recently in both academia and industry fields. In this chapter, the basic aspects of ABE fermentation, such as the history, fermentation microorganism, and physiological pathway have been introduced; recent advances in transcriptomic analyses, proteomic studies, and genetic engineering concerning the solventogenic clostridia have been reviewed. Although, from the economic standpoint, the industrial scale production of biobutanol through the traditional ABE fermentation process is not currently viable, it is expected that, with the rapid developments in molecular biology and fermentation engineering fields, this process becomes competitive soon in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioprocessing of Renewable Resources to Commodity Bioproducts
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781118845394
ISBN (Print)9781118175835
StatePublished - Apr 28 2014


  • ABE fermentation
  • Biobutanol
  • Economics outlook
  • Future prospects
  • Genetic engineering
  • History
  • Product recovery
  • Recent advances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Energy(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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