This Webinar was presented by David Bryant from
The Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University & Adam Djouani of ABER Instruments
Growing concern over environmental change has led to efforts to reduce petrochemical dependency and mitigate climate change through the development of sustainable bio-based processes for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Lignocellulosic biomass, the woody material of plants, is an abundant feedstock that offers a source of non-food carbohydrates for bioconversion to liquid fuels (e.g. bioethanol) or platform chemicals (e.g. lactic acid) in addition to the potential of phenolic based products (e.g. bio-polymers) being produced from lignin. However, in order to release the carbohydrates for fermentation, the biomass must first undergo pretreatment to render the biomatrix accessible to hydrolysing enzymes and secondly, undergo hydrolysis by these enzymes. Analytical systems for monitoring this deconstruction process by hydrolytic enzymes (saccharification) are both off-line and time consuming.
Working in collaboration with Aber Instruments (AI), IBERS have demonstrated the utility of the Aber Biomass Probe to monitor in ‘real-time’ the enzymatic release of carbohydrates from biomass following pre-treatments such as steam explosion. Furthermore, we have shown that the AI biomass probe is capable of following this saccharification process during simultaneous fermentation to lactic acid. Traditionally used for strictly monitoring the accumulation of biomass in industrial scale brewing processes, the application of AI’s biomass probe technology to the breakdown of lignocelluosic biomass demonstrates utility in the growing bio-renewable industrial sectors.