The Micro Posse: Bacteria seeking fermentable sugars in bio-oil

June 24, 2011 |

In Iowa, Iowa State’s Hybrid Processing Laboratory is working on using both biochemical and thermochemical processes to find new and better pathways for biochemicals and biofuels.

Noting that fermentation normally occurs well below the boiling point of water, while thermochemical processes are usually hundreds of degrees hotter, Professor Robert C. Brown states, “In fact, these differences in operating regimes represent one of the major advantages of hybrid processing… High temperatures readily break down biomass to substrates that can be fermented to desirable products.”

One example is work being done to explore the use of bacteria to ferment the sugars in thermochemically produced bio-oil, which would create more biochemicals and biofuels.

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