R. M. L. Graciano, V. P. de Freitas, M. Ábel

Tobacco plants (Nicotiana rustica, Nicotiana tabacum) produce abundant biomass in more than 100 countries and could be used to produce abundant biofuels. Tobacco is an ideal crop for biobased products; it is a perennial herbaceous plant. About one quarter of the tobacco plant is cellulosic material. Tobacco stem is a by-product in the tobacco industry after the tobacco leaves are harvested. The utilization ratio of tobacco stem is only approximately 40% due to difficulties in the comprehensive utilization technologies of tobacco stem. Therefore most of the tobacco stems have gone to waste. This biomass appears attractive for conversion to ethanol because it contains very low amounts of the hard-to-convert woody material lignin. The aim of this study is to identify the best parameters of the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process on tobacco based substrate. Just to make this technology cheaper, the enzyme recovery was investigated by membrane technology. Polyethersulfone membrane filters with 0.1 µm were used for microfiltration followed by determination of proteins using photometer and Kjeldahl method to measure the enzyme recovery. The aim was to decide whether the microfiltration membrane with cut-off 0.1 µm is a proper membrane for recycling the enzyme. During the filtration, increased resistance and decreased flux were detected.

Keywords: tobacco, biofuel, microfiltration

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