Ultrafiltration of thin stillage from conventional and E-Mill dry grind processes

Amit Arora, Bruce S. Dien, Ronald L. Belyea, Ping Wang, Vijay Singh, M. E. Tumbleson, Kent D. Rausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used ultrafiltration (UF) to evaluate membrane filtration characteristics of thin stillage and determine solids and nutrient compositions of filtered streams. To obtain thin stillage, corn was fermented using laboratory methods. UF experiments were conducted in batch mode under constant temperature and flow rate conditions. Two regenerated cellulose membranes (10 and 100 kDa molecular weight cutoffs) were evaluated with the objective of retaining solids as well as maximizing permeate flux. Optimum pressures for 10 and 100 kDa membranes were 207 and 69 kPa, respectively. Total solids, ash, and neutral detergent fiber contents of input TS streams of dry grind and E-Mill processes were similar; however, fat and protein contents were different (p<0.05). Retentate obtained from conventional thin stillage fractionation had higher mean total solids contents (27.6% to 27.8%) compared to E-Mill (22.2% to 23.4%). Total solids in retentate streams were found similar to those from commercial evaporators used in industry (25% to 35% total solids). Fat contents of retentate streams ranged from 16.3% to 17.5% for the conventional process. A 2% increment in fat concentration was observed in the E-Mill retentate stream. Thin stillage ash content was reduced 60% in retentate streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Biofuels
  • Ethanol
  • Membrane filtration
  • Nutrient separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology


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