Dr. Thidarat Nimchua, BIOTEC Researcher of Enzyme Technology Laboratory, Microbial Biotechnology and Biochemicals Research Unit and her research assistant, Mr. Phitsanu Pinmanee were honored with the PTT Innovative Idea Award at the Silver level of achievement for the innovation entitled ‘PTT Yeast Technology Platform’, in collaboration with the PTT Researchers. The award was announced at the PTT Group Excellence Days 2016 on November 9, 2016.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the yeast that is used primarily in the manufacture of ethanol. The optimum temperature for its growth is 25-35 degrees Celsius. To allow the yeast to produce ethanol in large quantities, the temperature of the fermentation processes needs to be controlled at about 30 degrees Celsius. In addition, the production of ethanol on an industrial scale often generates heat, which is drained out through the cooling system, allows the yeast to thrive. This result increases power consumption and production cost. Searching for the yeast strains that are heat-resistant (thermotolerant) and highly effective at the high-temperature fermentation process is a promising alternative.
The heat-resistant yeast strain reduces the fermentation time and eliminates a cooling system requirement. This can reduce production costs up to 30-35 percent and reduce microbial contamination of other species. The research to select heat-resistant yeast strains is useful and essential to the industrial development in Thailand, which is a tropical country with an average temperature above 35 degrees Celsius. This helps promoting the economic, social and environmental development in a stable and sustainable way.
Posted on 4 January 2017.