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Nanoparticle Systems for Delivery of Biological Antimicrobial Compounds to Limit Microbial Contamination in Industrial Yeast Fermentation

2007 DOT-RITA Seed Award


PI: Dr. Steven Ricke (University of Arkansas, Food Science)
Co-PI: Dr. Michael Johnson (University of Arkansas); Dr. Jin-Woo Kim (University of Arkansas)

Funded: $70,000

Start Date: 7/1/2007

End Date: 6/30/2009


Expected Outcomes

Microbial contamination is the one of the major problems in the industrial yeast fermentation creating great economic losses to the fermentation industries during processing and requiring control in the initial processing steps of yeast fermentation. Failure to do so ensure an eventual shutdown of the fermenter and loss of production time until the system can be purged of contaminants and re-inoculated with the yeast strains normally used for the fermentation process. Therefore it becomes critical to develop broad spectrum antimicrobial additives to prevent potential bacterial contamination “blooms” prior to irreversible contamination and shut down of the fermenter.


The objective of the proposed research will be to evaluate economically feasible biological compounds for their broad spectrum capability to limit and/or inhibit microbial contaminants in yeast fermentations. Because yeast fermentations are used for the production of the majority of ethanol, this study will be an important step to increase the quality of the fermentation process and therefore provide the Arkansas biofuel industry with better interventions for maintaining the quality of the fermentation process.


Finally, the ethanol fermentation industry is one of the fastest growing industries with great potential economic benefit in Arkansas for development of biofuel from agricultural byproducts. Successful completion of this project should provide a useful intervention strategy utilizing polymer-nano-composite system incorporating chitosan nanoparticles containing polylysine peptide dispersed in fermented extract biologicals to effectively control contaminants in yeast fermentation systems.

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