Technological watch

Synergistic Ball Milling–Enzymatic Pretreatment of Brewer’s Spent Grains to Improve Volatile Fatty Acid Production through Thermophilic Anaerobic Fermentation

Brewer’s spent grain (BSG) as the major byproduct in the brewing industry is a promising feedstock to produce value-added products such as volatile fatty acids (VFAs). Synergistic ball mill–enzymatic hydrolysis (BM-EH) process is an environmentally friendly pretreatment method for lignocellulosic materials before bioprocessing. This study investigated the potential of raw and BM-EH pretreated BSG feedstocks to produce VFAs through a direct thermophilic anaerobic fermentation process without introducing a methanogen inhibitor. The highest VFA concentration of over 30 g/L was achieved under the high-solid loading fermentation (HS) of raw BSG. The synergistic BM-EH pretreatment helps to increase the cellulose conversion to 70%. Under conventional low TS fermentation conditions, compared to the controlled sample, prolonged pretreatment of the BSG substrate resulted in increased VFA yields from 0.25 to 0.33 g/gVS, and butyric acid became dominant instead of acetic acid.

Publication date: 28/05/2023

Author: Can Liu

Reference: doi: 10.3390/pr11061648

MDPI (processes)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.