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An On-line Approach To Monitor Ethanol Fermentation Using FTIR Spectroscopy

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  037025,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15343)
Authors:   Ennis L. Veale, Joseph Irudayaraj, Ali Demirci
Keywords:   on-line, FTIR, spectroscopy, ethanol, fermentation, HPLC

Fermentation process control is currently limited by the inability to measure parameters on-line, such as substrate, product, and biomass concentrations rapidly for consistent feedback. Physical and chemical parameters, such as pH and temperature, can be obtained on-line by particular sensors. However, to obtain concentrations of substrate, product, and biomass, samples must be taken off-line for measurement, which results in an inefficient analysis process. With the use of spectroscopic techniques, real-time process monitoring and automated control can be achieved. Spectroscopic techniques are rapid, non-destructive, require little to no sample preparation, and can be used to simultaneously measure complex matrices with several constituents. The production of ethanol is the largest fermentation process in terms of production volume and economical value. Ethanol is an important product in the food, agricultural, and fuel industries. In this study an on-line ethanol fermentation monitoring system using FTIR spectroscopy was developed. A FTIR spectrometer coupled with an ATR flow cell was used to monitor the batch ethanol fermentation in terms of optical cell density, ethanol, and glucose concentrations. The on-line measurements were compared to conventional off-line measurements obtained by high pressure liquid chromatography and spectrophotometry. This work demonstrates that on-line FTIR monitoring could be reliable, accurate, and a repeatable alternative to conventional methods.

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