Simplified, In-plant Measurement of Total Carbohydrates for greater insight into plant operations
Publication Date: 2017-May-18
Simplified, In-plant Measurement of Total Carbohydrates for greater insight into plant
Ethanol plant feedstock is variable. Ethanol producers use starch measurements to determine the value of incoming grain, the fermentable material remaining in DDGS coproduct, and as an indicator of plant performance. In some cases, bonuses and incentives are based partially on these values. In other cases, the numbers are considered unreliable to the extent that they are summarily dismissed. While commercial kits are available for in-house measurement of starch or fermentable material, the task is laborious and time consuming. Samples are more often sent out for analysis by feed labs. Results vary and a turnaround time of one week is normal.
To address the need for a more reliable and timely determination of the fermentable materials in in-coming grain, process streams, and distillers’ grains, a new straightforward and dependable procedure for measuring total carbohydrates is provided. This method employs a unique combination of well-known grind technology, advanced enzyme technology, and analytical techniques already in use in nearly all ethanol plant laboratories. The result is a very simple, affordable method requiring limited hands-on time and producing results on par with the best commercial analyses available today.
Application of this total carbohydrate method allows producers to know the fermentable potential of each fermentation batch, and will further support continuing efforts to improve ethanol plant data management and utilization, and to monitor the heartbeat of the plant and facilitate industry-leading production efficiency for any ethanol plant.
Briefly, a homogenizer is used to grind the sample more completely and easily than any currently used technology. Hydrolysis is carried out in a single step rather than two steps with different enzymes and different temperatures. Dilutions and workup are simplified to facilitate analysis on HPLC at standard conditions. The HPLC step may be replaced by a very simple glucose meter analysis, further simplifying and shortening the procedure.
A more detailed outline of the procedure follows.
1) Determine solids in liqu...