Effects of acids pre-treatment on the microbial fermentation process for bioethanol production from microalgae

Chai Kee Phwan, Kit Wayne Chew, Abdi Hanra Sebayang, Hwai Chyuan Ong, Tau Chuan Ling, Marlinda Abdul Malek, Yeek Chia Ho, Pau Loke Show

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Background: Microalgae are one of the promising feedstock that consists of high carbohydrate content which can be converted into bioethanol. Pre-treatment is one of the critical steps required to release fermentable sugars to be used in the microbial fermentation process. In this study, the reducing sugar concentration of Chlorella species was investigated by pre-treating the biomass with dilute sulfuric acid and acetic acid at different concentrations 1%, 3%, 5%, 7%, and 9% (v/v). Results: 3,5-Dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) method, FTIR, and GC-FID were employed to evaluate the reducing sugar concentration, functional groups of alcohol bonds and concentration of bioethanol, respectively. The two-way ANOVA results (p < 0.05) indicated that there was a significant difference in the concentration and type of acids towards bioethanol production. The highest bioethanol yield obtained was 0.28 g ethanol/g microalgae which was found in microalgae sample pre-treated with 5% (v/v) sulfuric acid while 0.23 g ethanol/g microalgal biomass was presented in microalgae sample pre-treated with 5% (v/v) acetic acid. Conclusion: The application of acid pre-treatment on microalgae for bioethanol production will contribute to higher effectiveness and lower energy consumption compared to other pre-treatment methods. The findings from this study are essential for the commercial production of bioethanol from microalgae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number191
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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