Starch hydrolysis modeling: Application to fuel ethanol production

Ganti S. Murthy, David B. Johnston, Kent D. Rausch, M. E. Tumbleson, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficiency of the starch hydrolysis in the dry grind corn process is a determining factor for overall conversion of starch to ethanol. A model, based on a molecular approach, was developed to simulate structure and hydrolysis of starch. Starch structure was modeled based on a cluster model of amylopectin. Enzymatic hydrolysis of amylose and amylopectin was modeled using a Monte Carlo simulation method. The model included the effects of process variables such as temperature, pH, enzyme activity and enzyme dose. Pure starches from wet milled waxy and high-amylose corn hybrids and ground yellow dent corn were hydrolyzed to validate the model. Standard deviations in the model predictions for glucose concentration and DE values after saccharification were less than ±0.15% (w/v) and ±0.35%, respectively. Correlation coefficients for model predictions and experimental values were 0.60 and 0.91 for liquefaction and 0.84 and 0.71 for saccharification of amylose and amylopectin, respectively. Model predictions for glucose (R 2 = 0.69-0.79) and DP4 + (R 2 = 0.8-0.68) were more accurate than the maltotriose and maltose for hydrolysis of highamylose and waxy corn starch. For yellow dent corn, simulation predictions for glucose were accurate (R 2 > 0.73) indicating that the model can be used to predict the glucose concentrations during starch hydrolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-890
Number of pages12
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Amylopectin
  • Amylose
  • Liquefaction
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Saccharification
  • Starch hydrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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