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Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

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A Promising Solution to Boosting Ethanol Production

  • Osasa-based researchers have found that tannin from persimmons improves the growth of the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the presence of ethanol.
  • Ethanol is among the environmental factors that add stress to yeasts, hindering their growth.
  • Persimmon may part of a solution that increases ethanol production efficiency
Ethanol

Osaka Metropolitan University researchers have found that persimmon tannin, known for its antioxidant properties, improves the growth of yeast in the presence of ethanol. It’s a case of naturally derived antioxidants improving growth of yeast strain in presence of ethanol.

The findings have been published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

While ethanol in alcoholic beverages impairs drinkers’ motor functions, it is that same substance that can power motor vehicles in a cleaner, more sustainable manner. What is necessary for the production of ethanol is yeast, but ethanol is among the environmental factors that add stress to yeasts, hindering their growth. To promote efficient bioethanol production, scientists have been searching for substances that can help yeasts better withstand ethanol, but few effective ones have been found.

An Osaka Metropolitan University research team, including graduate student Ilhamzah and Professor Ken-ichi Fujita of the Graduate School of Science and Professor Akira Ogita of the Research Center for Urban Health and Sports, has found that tannin from persimmons improves the growth of the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the presence of ethanol.

Professor Fujita stated, “In this study, yeast cultures grown in a medium containing ethanol and persimmon tannin showed an 8.9-fold increase in cell number compared to cultures grown in an ethanol medium without persimmon tannin.”

The researchers explored persimmon tannin because it is known for its antioxidative properties.

“Persimmon tannin reduced ethanol-induced oxidative stress,” Fujita added.

“However, persimmon tannin did not prevent ethanol-induced cell membrane damage. This indicates the potential of persimmon tannin as a protective agent to enhance the yeast’s tolerance to ethanol stress by limiting oxidative damage, rather than limiting damage to the yeast’s cell membranes.”

Persimmon isn’t likely in many folks hot list of flavors. But the breadth and depth of the research is what surprises.

It may well be a part of a solution that increases ethanol production efficiency and that is always a welcome thing.

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By Brian Westenhaus via Newenergyanfuel.com

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