Ravi Kant, Vishal Ahuja, Nidhi Rana, Vaishali Sharma, Sumita Thakur and Arvind Kumar Bhatt
Himachal Pradesh University, India
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Bioproces Biotechniq
Bio-ethanol, acclaimed as a potential alternative to petroleum-based fuels, not only offers a sustainable source of energy but also helps in environment conservation by reducing greenhouse gas emission. The fermentable sugar for bioethanol production can be obtained from lignocellulosic biomass through enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. In the present study, pine needles, which besides being one of the major causes of forest fires during summers and adversely affecting biodiversity, were used for bioethanol production. Initially, cellulose degrading microorganisms isolated from various locations of Himachal Pradesh were screened for their ability to degrade lignocellulosic material so as to select the best organism for fermentation and ethanol production. Isolate HCB-21exhibiting highest cellulase activity i.e. 0.39 U/mg protein was used for further study. In order to enhance the cellulose degradation potential of this isolate, various culture conditions were optimized which resulted in 20 fold increase in the cellulolytic activity i.e. 7.80 U/mg protein. Besides the bacterial isolate HCB-21, other microbes previously isolated were also used to analyze the hydrolytic potential and the efficiency of various yeast to produce ethanol and the results are quite encouraging. Efforts are being made to find out a stable microbial consortium of cellulose and hemicellulose degrading microorganisms for maximum yield of fermentable sugar from pine needles for production of ethanol. The outcome of the present work will result not only in providing a safe and environment friendly source of energy, but also in the conservation of environment and biodiversity due to reduction of frequent forest fires.
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