Mixed culture syngas fermentation and conversion of carboxylic acids into alcohols

Kan Liu, Hasan K. Atiyeh*, Bradley S. Stevenson, Ralph S. Tanner, Mark R. Wilkins, Raymond L. Huhnke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Higher alcohols such as n-butanol and n-hexanol have higher energy density than ethanol, are more compatible with current fuel infrastructure, and can be upgraded to jet and diesel fuels. Several organisms are known to convert syngas to ethanol, but very few can produce higher alcohols alone. As a potential solution, mixed culture fermentation between the syngas fermenting Alkalibaculum bacchi strain CP15 and propionic acid producer Clostridium propionicum was studied. The monoculture of CP15 produced only ethanol from syngas without initial addition of organic acids to the fermentation medium. However, the mixed culture produced ethanol, n-propanol and n-butanol from syngas. The addition of propionic acid, butyric acid and hexanoic acid to the mixed culture resulted in a 50% higher conversion efficiency of these acids to their respective alcohols compared to CP15 monoculture. These findings illustrate the great potential of mixed culture syngas fermentation in production of higher alcohols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-346
Number of pages10
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Drop-in biofuel
  • Mixed culture syngas fermentation
  • N-Butanol
  • N-Hexanol
  • N-Propanol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


Dive into the research topics of 'Mixed culture syngas fermentation and conversion of carboxylic acids into alcohols'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this