Policy / Systems / Technology

August 6, 2011


Japanese Researchers Succeed in Producing World's First Bioethanol from Marine Alginate

Keywords: Environmental Technology Renewable Energy University / Research institute 

JFS/Japanese Researchers Succeed in Producing World's First Bioethanol from Marine Alginate
Strain A1 : Copyright Kyoto University

Japanese researchers led by Professor Kousaku Murata at Kyoto University announced on April 28, 2011, that they have developed the world's first successful approach for producing bioethanol from alginate, a major component (accounting for 30-60 percent of dried algae) of brown algae such as kelp and wakame seaweeds.

Bioethanol production was possible due to metabolic modification and culture engineering analysis of Sphingomonas sp. Strain A1. It was reported that 13 g/L ethanol can be produced from aerobic culture in two to three days.

The production of bioethanol from starch and cellulose has been studied in Japan and abroad as an approach to increasing alternative energy production and to mitigating problems associated with global warming. In the case of biofuel production from land biomass, however, problems are found in supply volume, transportation, bioethanol-food conflicts, as well as the environmental impact of cellulose decomposition. Thus, bioethanol production from marine biomass has long been a goal.

The research was awarded the Topics Award at the Annual Meeting of the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry in fiscal 2011, although the meeting and presentation were cancelled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. The research paper was published in "Energy & Environmental Science", a journal focusing on energy and environmental sciences and technologies.

Posted: 2011/08/06 06:00:15 AM

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Kyoto University official website


Energy Environ.Sci., 4:2575-2581 (2011)