Reducing Bacterial Contamination in Fuel Ethanol Fermentations by Ozone Treatment of Uncooked Corn Mash

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Rasmussen, Mary
Jane, Jay-lin
Pometto, Anthony
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Jane, Jay-Lin
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Koziel, Jacek
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Ozonation of uncooked corn mash from the POET BPX process was investigated as a potential disinfection method for reducing bacterial contamination prior to ethanol fermentation. Corn mash (200 g) was prepared from POET ground corn and POET corn slurry and was ozonated in 250 mL polypropylene bottles. Lactic and acetic acid levels were monitored daily during the fermentation of ozonated, aerated, and nontreated corn mash samples to evaluate bacterial activity. Glycerol and ethanol contents of fermentation samples were checked daily to assess yeast activity. No yeast supplementation, no addition of other antimicrobial agents (such as antibiotics), and spiking with a common lactic acid bacterium found in corn ethanol plants,Lactobacillus plantarum, amplified the treatment effects. The laboratory-scale ozone dosages ranged from 26–188 mg/L, with very low estimated costs of $0.0008–0.006/gal ($0.21–1.6/m3) of ethanol. Ozonation was found to decrease the initial pH of ground corn mash samples, which could reduce the sulfuric acid required to adjust the pH prior to ethanol fermentation. Lactic and acetic acid levels tended to be lower for samples subjected to increasing ozone dosages, indicating less bacterial activity. The lower ozone dosages in the range applied achieved higher ethanol yields. Preliminary experiments on ozonating POET corn slurry at low ozone dosages were not as effective as using POET ground corn, possibly because corn slurry samples contained recycled antimicrobials from the backset. The data suggest additional dissolved and suspended organic materials from the backset consumed the ozone or shielded the bacteria.


Reprinted with permission from J. Agric. Food Chem., 2015, 63 (21), pp 5239–5248. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b00563. Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015