Author(s): M. Ntoampe, T. Matambo, D. Glasser & D. Hildebrandt
Bioconversion of renewable resources into useful chemicals and fuels is of great
interest in scientific research.
This is mainly because of the gradual depletion of
fossil fuels and the increasing price of oil.
The objective of this research is to
produce biologically based chemicals and fuels from sweet potatoes.
potato is a crop of choice because it has a high starch content and is rich in
β-amylase, which converts long chained starch into readily used maltose units,
making it a good energy and carbon source for bacteria.
A Fluidized Bed
Bio-Reactor (FBBR) was used as a fermentation tank, in which bacteria were
metabolizing and converting sweet potatoes into end products, such as fuel
ethanol and hydrogen gas.
On the other hand, plate counts were used to estimate
the number of viable cells in a reactor.
Any increase in the number of cells would
be an indication of increasing cell density, which would imply increased
microbial activity and hence elevated gas and chemical production by the
microbes used in the reactor.
Gas Chromatography (GC) was used to analyze the
end products, i.e.
in separating components of the liquid mixture into pure
This was the key to establishing which gases and liquids were
produced during FBBR operation.
GC analysis revealed that 5% ethanol, 2.5%
acetic acid, 2% propionic acid and 3% butyric acid were produced.
and methane were also produced in amounts that were not measured.
sweet potato, fermentation, fluidized bed bio-reactor, ethanol, acetic
acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, methane, hydrogen.
Size: 3,452 kb
Paper DOI: 10.2495/DN100191
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