Revista U.D.C.A Actualidad & Divulgación Científica
Print version ISSN 0123-4226
SOSSA URREGO, Diana Patricia; GONZALEZ, Lina María and VANEGAS, María Consuelo. ISOLATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF CONTAMINANT Lactobacillus IN A COLOMBIAN ALCOHOL FERMENTATION PLANT. rev.udcaactual.divulg.cient. [online]. 2009, vol.12, n.2, pp. 163-172. ISSN 0123-4226.
Bacterial contamination is a constant problem in fermentation processes, especially in the production of ethanol where sugar cane or corn molasses is used as raw material. The main contaminants are lactic acid bacteria, predominating, the genus Lactobacillus. These bacteria cause a decrease in the carbon source for the ethanol production. They compete for growth factors, needed by the yeast cells to generate the fermentation process. They also produce lactic acid, an inhibitor of yeast growth, which causes the loss of two molecules of ethanol per molecule of lactic acid produced. This causes a decrease in productivity, thus originating economic losses. In this study samples were collected from a Colombian distillery, from raw material, yeast used as inoculum and from five fermentation tanks at different moments. The lactic bacteria contaminants were quantified, isolated and characterized using phenotypic and genotypic methods. Biochemical tests of classical microbiology were used as the phenotypic method and PCR (Polimerase Chain Reaction) for the genotypic method. When quantifying the bacteria, their behavior and impact in efficiency was evaluated. High counts of lactic acid bacteria were observed in fermentation tanks. These bacteria were also found in the raw matter and in the yeast, suggesting the process has several sources of contamination. When performing the polyphasic characterization, the main contaminant was Lactobacillus.
Keywords : Ethanol production; microbial contamination; lactic acid bacteria; Lactobacillus.