Biofuels Production projects
Yeast-produced endolysins to prevent bacterial infections of ethanol fermentations
Generally, fuel ethanol fermentations are not designed to be carried out under pure culture conditions and are prone to bacterial infections, typically by lactobacilli. Bacterial infections decrease the profitability pf ethanol production by decreasing ethanol yield. In extreme cases, bacterial infections can lead to a "stuck" fermentation (little or no conversion of sugar into ethanol), which results in plant closures for cleaning. To combat bacterial infections, ethanol producers could use antibiotics. Unfortunately, the use of antibiotics has three significant negatives: 1) cost of antibiotics; 2) limited long-term usefulness due to antibiotic resistance; and 3) strengthening lack of support for use of antibiotics in agriculture. In fact, concern over the development of antibiotic resistance in ethanol fermentations has led to a ban on antibiotic use in Europe and pressure is mounting for a similar ban in the United States. Our goal is to develop an inexpensive and effective alternative to antibiotics in fuel ethanol fermentations.