Application of Factorial Design in Enhanced Bio-Butanol Production from Corn Stover Fermentation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Eid Alkhatib, Ph.D.


In this study acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE) production was attempted from Corn Stover in small cultures using Clostridium Beijerinckii NCIMB 8052. Prior experiments using C. Beijerinckii have yielded ABE solvents in a range of 14.6g/L to approximately 165.1g/L (conducted in fed batch cultures); With about 60% of solution being butanol. From this study, we successfully produced n-butanol, and ethanol from corn stover fermentation. We produced approximately 4mL of butanol and 1mL of ethanol from a 1L (86g) corn stover solution. We had a productivity of about 3.37% (m/m) n-butanol. Through Gas chromatography and Infrared Spectroscopy, we could identify and confirm the presence of butanol and ethanol from fermentation. We then applied the idea of factorial design to the experiment to identify key factors influencing bio-butanol production from fermentation of agricultural waste. With a holistic approach, we attempted to identify the effects of bacterial strain and pH of the system on production of biofuels. Previous research has shown that two key clostridium strains have been able to successfully digest yeast by-products from agricultural waste, and through fermentation, produce bio-fuels. However, upon analyses of data provided by Minitab, and the application of factorial design, we found no clear correlation between factors of bacterial strain and/or pH. Bio-butanol production is not dependent on either factor. Therefore, we can conclude that further research in butanol production through fermentation of agricultural waste is needed. It would be ideal to consider factors external to bacterial strain that may influence the successful digestion and fermentation of yeast extracted from agricultural waste.


Master's thesis submitted to the faculty of Sacred Heart University's Chemistry Program in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Chemistry.