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Cell immobilization technique was applied in this study in order to examine effect of immobilized Pichia stipitis TISTR5806 on bioethanol production. Water hyacinth (WH) and thin-shell silk cocoon (CC) were used as cell carriers. Characteristics of the cell carriers were examined to explain the mechanism of bioethanol production. Carrier sizes and weights were optimized to improve bioethanol production. Moreover, stabilities of immobilized cells and carriers were evaluated. Because of high porosity, high surface area and good swelling ability of WH, cell immobilized on 1 g WH with 1 cm length produced the highest ethanol concentration at 13.3 g/L. Five cycles of a repeated batch of immobilized cell (IC) system on WH showed stable performance in ethanol production (8.2–10.4 g/L) with large numbers of the immobilized cells. The interaction between the immobilized cells and the WH surface were discovered.
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