The thermotolerant yeast strain isolated from sugarcane juice through enrichment technique was identified as a strain of Pichiakudriavzevii (Issatchenkiaorientalis) through molecular characterization. The P. kudriavzevii cells adapted to galactose medium produced about 30% more ethanol from sugarcane juice than the non-adapted cells. The recycled cells could be used for four successive cycles without a significant drop in ethanol production. Fermentation in a laboratory fermenter with galactose adapted P. kudriavzevii cells at 40°C resulted in an ethanol concentration and productivity of 71.9 g L(-1) and 4.0 g L(-1)h(-1), respectively from sugarcane juice composed of about 14% (w/v) sucrose, 2% (w/v) glucose and 1% (w/v) fructose. In addition to ethanol, 3.30 g L(-1) arabitol and 4.19 g L(-1) glycerol were also produced, whereas sorbitol and xylitol were not formed during fermentation. Use of galactose adapted P. kudriavzevii cells for ethanol production from sugarcane juice holds potential for scale-up studies.
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