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1.  On-farm solid state simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of whole crop forage rice in wrapped round bale for ethanol production 
Background
In an attempt to reduce environmental loading during ethanol production from cellulosic plant biomass, we have previously proposed an on-site solid state fermentation (SSF) method for producing ethanol from whole crops, which at the same time provides cattle feed without producing wastes. During the ensiling of freshly harvested plant biomass with cellulase and glucoamylase, the added yeast and lactic acid bacteria induced simultaneous saccharification and production of ethanol and lactic acid in hermetically sealed containers on-farm. In a previous study, laboratory-scale SSF (using 250 g of fresh rice crop biomass) yielded 16.9 weight % ethanol in dry matter (DM) after 20 days of incubation. In this study, the fermentation volume was scaled up to a normal-sized round bale and the fermentation process (ethanol concentrations of the products) was monitored. The ethanol produced was recovered and the recovery efficiency was evaluated.
Results
SSF tests with forage rice round bales using polyethylene-wrapped whole plant materials (cultivar Leaf Star, average of 125.2 kg dry weight) were monitored in the field without temperature control. They yielded 14.0 weight % ethanol and 2.9 weight % lactic acid in DM after six months of incubation, and the ethanol ratio in the bale remained stable for 14 months after processing. SSF tests with three different rice cultivars were conducted for three years. Ethanol recovery from a fermented whole bale (244 kg fresh matter (FM) containing about 12.4 kg ethanol) by one-step distillation using vacuum distillation equipment yielded 86.3% ethanol collected from distilled solution (107 kg of 10.0 weight % ethanol). In addition, an average of 1.65 kg ethanol in 40.8 kg effluent per bale was recovered. Relative nitrogen content was higher in SSF products than in silage made from the same plant material, indicating that fermentation residue, whose quality is stabilized by the lactic acid produced, can be used as cattle feed.
Conclusions
We have successfully demonstrated an efficient on-site ethanol production system with non-sterilized whole rice crop round bale. However, issues concerning the establishment of the ethanol recovery procedure on-site and evaluation of the fermentation residue as cattle feed have to be addressed.
doi:10.1186/s13068-014-0192-9
PMCID: PMC4311456  PMID: 25642286
Bioethanol; Solid state fermentation; Whole crop forage rice; Round bale; Nutritional value
2.  Degradation of biodegradable plastic mulch films in soil environment by phylloplane fungi isolated from gramineous plants 
AMB Express  2012;2:40.
To improve the biodegradation of biodegradable plastic (BP) mulch films, 1227 fungal strains were isolated from plant surface (phylloplane) and evaluated for BP-degrading ability. Among them, B47-9 a strain isolated from the leaf surface of barley showed the strongest ability to degrade poly-(butylene succinate-co-butylene adipate) (PBSA) and poly-(butylene succinate) (PBS) films. The strain grew on the surface of soil-mounted BP films, produced breaks along the direction of hyphal growth indicated that it secreted a BP-degrading enzyme, and has directly contributing to accelerating the degradation of film. Treatment with the culture filtrate decomposed 91.2 wt%, 23.7 wt%, and 14.6 wt% of PBSA, PBS, and commercially available BP polymer blended mulch film, respectively, on unsterlized soil within 6 days. The PCR-DGGE analysis of the transition of soil microbial community during film degradation revealed that the process was accompanied with drastic changes in the population of soil fungi and Acantamoeba spp., as well as the growth of inoculated strain B47-9. It has a potential for application in the development of an effective method for accelerating degradation of used plastics under actual field conditions.
doi:10.1186/2191-0855-2-40
PMCID: PMC3444367  PMID: 22856640
Biodegradable plastic; Leaf surface; Phylloplane fungi; Mulch film; PCR-DGGE
3.  Phyllosphere yeasts rapidly break down biodegradable plastics 
AMB Express  2011;1:44.
The use of biodegradable plastics can reduce the accumulation of environmentally persistent plastic wastes. The rate of degradation of biodegradable plastics depends on environmental conditions and is highly variable. Techniques for achieving more consistent degradation are needed. However, only a few microorganisms involved in the degradation process have been isolated so far from the environment. Here, we show that Pseudozyma spp. yeasts, which are common in the phyllosphere and are easily isolated from plant surfaces, displayed strong degradation activity on films made from poly-butylene succinate or poly-butylene succinate-co-adipate. Strains of P. antarctica isolated from leaves and husks of paddy rice displayed strong degradation activity on these films at 30°C. The type strain, P. antarctica JCM 10317, and Pseudozyma spp. strains from phyllosphere secreted a biodegradable plastic-degrading enzyme with a molecular mass of about 22 kDa. Reliable source of biodegradable plastic-degrading microorganisms are now in our hands.
doi:10.1186/2191-0855-1-44
PMCID: PMC3293741  PMID: 22126328
Pseudozyma; Biodegradable plastic; Phyllosphere; Yeast
4.  Silage produces biofuel for local consumption 
Background
In the normal process of bioethanol production, biomass is transported to integrated large factories for degradation to sugar, fermentation, and recovery of ethanol by distillation. Biomass nutrient loss occurs during preservation and degradation. Our aim was to develop a decentralized ethanol production system appropriate for farm or co-operative level production that uses a solid-state fermentation method for producing bio-ethanol from whole crops, provides cattle feed, and produces no wastes. The idea is to incorporate traditional silage methods with simultaneous saccharification and fermentation. Harvested, fresh biomass is ensiled with biomass-degrading enzymes and yeast. Multiple parallel reactions for biomass degradation and ethanol and lactic acid production are induced in solid culture in hermetically sealed containers at a ranch. After fermentation, ethanol is collected on site from the vapor from heated fermented products.
Results
The parallel reactions of simultaneous saccharification and fermentation were induced efficiently in the model fermentation system. In a laboratory-scale feasibility study of the process, 250 g of freshly harvested forage rice with 62% moisture was treated with 0.86 filter paper units/g dry matter (DM) of cellulase and 0.32 U/g DM of glucoamylase. After 20 days of incubation at 28°C, 6.4 wt.% of ethanol in fresh matter (equivalent to 169 g/kg DM) was produced. When the 46 wt.% moisture was gathered as vapor from the fermented product, 74% of the produced ethanol was collected. Organic cellular contents (such as the amylase and pronase degradable fractions) were decreased by 63% and organic cell wall (fiber) content by 7% compared to silage prepared from the same material.
Conclusions
We confirmed that efficient ethanol production is induced in nonsterilized whole rice plants in a laboratory-scale solid-state fermentation system. For practical use of the method, further study is needed to scale-up the fermentation volume, develop an efficient ethanol recovery method, and evaluate the fermentation residue as an actual cattle feed.
doi:10.1186/1754-6834-4-46
PMCID: PMC3224754  PMID: 22040609

Results 1-4 (4)