SBIR Phase I: Improvement of the biofuel fermentation process by the phage-mediated reduction of contaminating lactic acid bacteria

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1112969
Agency Tracking Number: 1112969
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Phage Biocontrol
11142 Hopes Creek Rd, College Station, TX, 77845-9228
DUNS: 826536968
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Elizabeth Summer
 (979) 694-6500
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Summer
Phone: (979) 694-6500
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will be used to optimize biofuel production. The fermentation of biofuel ethanol is frequently disrupted by the growth of competing lactic acid bacteria (LAB). LAB compete for the feedstock, produce undesirable acids and inhibit fermentation. Currently, the LAB control method of choice is to apply antibiotics. Phage Biocontrol is proposing to develop an entirely new, alternative treatment for controlling LAB in the biofuel fermentation industry, based on formulations of bacteriolytic phage. Phage are natural, harmless, ubiquitous bacteriolytic agents that can be found in fermented foods. This project is focused on developing phage as a treatment to control LAB contamination during production of bio-fuels. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are to increase efficiency and profitability of biofuel production while eliminating the industrial use of antibiotics. The most significant commercial impact will be to decrease costly fermentation failure events caused by LAB, thus increasing both ethanol yields and profits. The broader societal impacts are arguably even more significant. First, phage treatment has the potential to increase biofuel yields, a necessary goal as fossil fuel levels diminish. Second, while there is a general agreement that widespread, non-medical antibiotic use should be curtailed, antibiotics are currently the most effective control measure available. Phage formulations have real potential to replace antibiotics for non-medical applications. Thus, the innovative application of phage to control LAB in the fuel ethanol fermentation industry will lead to positive economic and societal impacts.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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