Production of acetone, butanol, and ethanol from biomass of the green seaweed Ulva lactuca

Wal, H. van der; Sperber, B.L.H.M.; Houweling-Tan, G.B.N.; Bakker, R.R.C.; Brandenburg, W.A.; Lopez Contreras, Ana


Green seaweed Ulva lactuca harvested from the North Sea near Zeeland (The Netherlands) was characterized as feedstock for acetone, ethanol and ethanol fermentation. Solubilization of over 90% of sugars was achieved by hot-water treatment followed by hydrolysis using commercial cellulases. A hydrolysate was used for the production of acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE) by Clostridium acetobutylicum and Clostridium beijerinckii. Hydrolysate-based media were fermentable without nutrient supplementation. C. beijerinckii utilized all sugars in the hydrolysate and produced ABE at high yields (0.35 g ABE/g sugar consumed), while C. acetobutylicum produced mostly organic acids (acetic and butyric acids). These results demonstrate the great potential of U. lactuca as feedstock for fermentation. Interestingly, in control cultures of C. beijerinckii on rhamnose and glucose, 1,2 propanediol was the main fermentation product (9.7 g/L).