Use of tropical maize for bioethanol production

Ming Hsu Chen, Prabhjot Kaur, Bruce Dien, Frederick E Below, Michael L. Vincent, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tropical maize is an alternative energy crop being considered as a feedstock for bioethanol production in the North Central and Midwest United States. Tropical maize is advantageous because it produces large amounts of soluble sugars in its stalks, creates a large amount of biomass, and requires lower inputs (e.g. nitrogen) than grain corn. Soluble sugars, including sucrose, glucose and fructose were extracted by pressing the stalks at dough stage (R4). The initial extracted syrup fermented faster than the control culture grown on a yeast extract/phosphate/sucrose medium. The syrup was subsequently concentrated 1.25-2.25 times, supplemented with urea, and fermented using Saccharomyces cerevisiae for up to 96 h. The final ethanol concentrations obtained were 8.1 % (v/v) to 15.6 % (v/v), equivalent to 90.3-92.2 % of the theoretical yields. However, fermentation productivity decreased with sugar concentration, suggesting that the yeast might be osmotically stressed at the increased sugar concentrations. These results provide in-depth information for utilizing tropical maize syrup for bioethanol production that will help in tropical maize breeding and development for use as another feedstock for the biofuel industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1509-1515
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Ethanol
  • Fermentation
  • Tropical maize

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Physiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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