Pretreatment and conversion of distiller's dried grains with solubles for acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) production

B. Wang, T. Ezeji, Z. Shi, H. Feng, H. P. Blaschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distiller S dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is a low-value co-product from dry grind ethanolproduction. Due to its high fiber content, DDGS is used primarily as a feed for ruminant animals. Conversion of the carbohydrate components in DDGS to biofuel would improve the overall economics of dry grind ethanol production. The effect of solids loading on pretreatment of DDGS and on subsequent acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation was examined. DDGS samples were subjected to sixpretreatments, involving acidic and alkaline electrolyzed water, at three solids loadings (20%, 30%, and 40% w/w). After a 72 h hydrolysis, the highest glucose yield was obtained from the sulfuric acid pretreated samples. In fermentation tests using Clostridium acetobutylicum P260 for ABE production, the highest ABE concentration was ∼17 g L -1, which was achieved from alkaline electrolyzed water pretreated samples at 30% (w/w) solids loading. The solids loading in a pretreatment significantly affected both the sugar yield from enzymatic hydrolysis and the ABE yield from fermentation of DDGS hydrolysates. The hydrolysate from alkaline electrolyzed water pretreatment at 30% (w/w) solids was found to be most favorable to ABE production, while that from sulfuric acid pretreatment was the least fermentable, although it produced the highest sugar yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Abe fermentation
  • DDGS
  • Electrolyzed water
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Pretreatment
  • Solids loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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