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Feeding algae sugar from cellulosic biomass


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#1 mellotango

mellotango

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 06:48 PM

Hi,

I am currently researching in algae biofuel and am interested in using sugars derived from cellulosic sources to grow heterotrophic algae. We have ample access to discarded cellulosic biomass by agricultural plantations that are simply left to rot or burned. We think this waste can be made into a potential algae biofuel. However, there are a few problems with cellulose biomass that I understand. The cellulose walls are difficult to penetrate and cellulose produces 2 types of c5 (xylose) and c6 sugars (e.g. glucose). C5 sugars are problematic in bioethanol production as it cannot be digested by normal yeast to produce ethanol.

There are 2 questions I'm looking answers for

1) Is algae able to break down cellulose walls by itself, just like certain bacteria in nature (present in cow's stomach) , without resorting to industrial actions such as acid hydrolysis to loosen the walls?

2) Can c5 sugars such as xylose also be digested by algae such that both types of sugars are 100% utilized?

Thank you in advance for your useful replies!

James L.

Edited by mellotango, 04 May 2010 - 07:16 PM.





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