Pumpkin pod biomass was used for bioethanol production using optimised separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF). Central composite design (CCD) coupled with response surface methodology (RSM) was used to model and optimise the effect of broth pH, solid substrate loading and concentration of acid used for hydrolysis. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the model was statistically significant (p value=0.0003) with a low standard deviation (0.27) and a high coefficient of determination (R2=0.91). Ethanol production was significant at high levels of solid loading and pH while the reverse was the case for acid concentration. The optimum values of pH, solid substrate loading and acid concentration obtained from RSM were 6.0, 10 %w/w and 0.051 M respectively. Under these conditions, the ethanol concentration was obtained as 7.1 %v/v. Validation of the statistical model indicated no significant difference between experimental observations and model prediction. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of producing bioethanol from pumpkin pod an otherwise waste material. Optimisation of the process helps improve the commercial potential of the process.
Keywords: Bioethanol, Fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Response Surface Methodology, Hydrolysis
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