In the present study, the effect of potassium ions and increasing concentrations of glucose and xylose on the growth of a strain of Clostridium tyrobutyricum, adapted to wheat straw hydrolysate, was investigated. Application of continuous fermentation of a mixture of glucose and xylose and in situ acid removal by reverse electro enhanced dialysis (REED) was investigated as a method to alleviate potassium and end-product inhibition and consequently enhance the sugar consumption rates and butyric acid productivity. It was found that glucose and xylose were not inhibitory up to a concentration of 50 and 37 g L-1 respectively, and that they were consumed at comparable rates when fermented alone. However, continuous fermentation of a mixture of glucose and xylose resulted in a significantly decreased xylose consumption rate compared to that of glucose alone, supporting the conclusion that C. tyrobutyricum has a lower affinity for xylose than for glucose. Potassium ions negatively affected the effective maximum growth rate of C. tyrobutyricum at concentrations higher than 5 g L-1 exhibiting a non-competitive type of inhibition. Continuous fermentation of a glucose and xylose mixture with simultaneous acid removal by REED resulted in a two to threefold increase of the glucose consumption rate, while the xylose consumption rate was enhanced sixfold compared to continuous fermentation without in situ acid removal. Similarly, butyric acid productivity was enhanced by a factor of 2-3, while the yield remained unaffected.
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- Butyric acid
- Clostridium tyrobutyricum
- Reverse electro enhanced dialysis