Biomass, strain engineering, and fermentation processes for butanol production by solventogenic clostridia

Sang Hyun Lee, Eun Ju Yun, Jungyeon Kim, Sang Jun Lee, Youngsoon Um, Kyoung Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Butanol is considered an attractive biofuel and a commercially important bulk chemical. However, economical production of butanol by solventogenic clostridia, e.g., via fermentative production of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE), is hampered by low fermentation performance, mainly as a result of toxicity of butanol to microorganisms and high substrate costs. Recently, sugars from marine macroalgae and syngas were recognized as potent carbon sources in biomass feedstocks that are abundant and do not compete for arable land with edible crops. With the aid of systems metabolic engineering, many researchers have developed clostridial strains with improved performance on fermentation of these substrates. Alternatively, fermentation strategies integrated with butanol recovery processes such as adsorption, gas stripping, liquid-liquid extraction, and pervaporation have been designed to increase the overall titer of butanol and volumetric productivity. Nevertheless, for economically feasible production of butanol, innovative strategies based on recent research should be implemented. This review describes and discusses recent advances in the development of biomass feedstocks, microbial strains, and fermentation processes for butanol production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8255-8271
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by C1 Gas Refinery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by MSIP (2016M3D3A1A01913143). This research was performed at the Korea University Food Safety Hall for the Institute of Biomedical Science and Food Safety.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Butanol
  • Butanol recovery
  • Fermentation
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Solventogenic clostridia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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