Bioconversion has two meanings in Biology.

The first one is also known as biotransformation and is the use of microorganisms to carry out a chemical reaction that is more costly or not feasible nonbiologically. The microorganisms converts a substance to a chemically modified form. An example is the industrial production of cortisone. One step is the bioconversion of Progesterone to 11-alfa-Hydroxyprogesterone by "Rhizopus nigricans."

The second is the conversion of organic materials, such as plant or animal waste, into usable products or energy sources by biological processes or agents, such as certain microorganisms or enzymes.

New cellulosic ethanol conversion processes have enabled the variety and volume of feedstock that can be bioconverted to expand rapidly. Feedstock now includes materials derived from plant or animal waste such as paper, auto-fluff, tires, fabric, construction materials, municipal solid waste (MSW), sludge, sewage, etc.

There are two principal processes for bioconversion:

1 - Enzymatic hydrolysis - a single source of feedstock, switchgrass for example, is mixed with strong enzymes which convert a portion of cellulosic material into sugars which can then be fermented into ethanol. [ Genencor] and [ Novozymes] are two companies that have received United States government Department of Energy funding for research into reducing the cost of cellulase, a key enzyme in the production cellulosic ethanol by this process.

2 - Synthesis gas fermentation - a blend of feedstock, not exceeding 30% water, is gasified in a closed environment into a syngas containing mostly carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The cooled syngas is then converted into usable products through exposure to bacteria or other catalysts. [ BRI Energy, LLC] is a company whose pilot plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas is currently using synthesis gas fermentation to convert a variety of waste into ethanol. After gasification, anaerobic bacteria ("Clostridium ljungdahlii") are used to convert the syngas (CO, CO2, and H2) into ethanol. The heat generated by gasification is also used to co-generate excess electricity.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bioconversion — ● bioconversion nom féminin Changement de forme de l énergie ou de la matière (au niveau moléculaire) ayant pour agent un être vivant. (La photosynthèse et la respiration cellulaire sont des bioconversions.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bioconversion — [bī΄ōkən vʉr′zhən, bī΄ō kən vʉr′shən] n. the process of generating a fuel from biological waste matter by the action of microorganisms …   English World dictionary

  • Bioconversion — Biotechnologie L’OCDE définit les biotechnologies comme « l’application des principes scientifiques et de l ingénierie à la transformation de matériaux par des agents biologiques pour produire des biens et services ».[1] Les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bioconversion — noun Date: 1960 the conversion of organic materials (as wastes) into an energy source (as methane) by processes (as fermentation) involving living organisms …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bioconversion — /buy oh keuhn verr zheuhn, sheuhn/, n. the conversion of biomass to usable energy, as by burning solid fuel for heat, by fermenting plant matter to produce liquid fuel, as ethanol, or by the bacterial decomposition of organic waste to produce… …   Universalium

  • bioconversion — noun The conversion of biological material into usable products; but especially the conversion of biomass into biofuel …   Wiktionary

  • Bioconversion —   The conversion of one form of energy into another by the action of plants or microorganisms. The conversion of biomass to ethanol, methanol, or methane.   ***   Processes that use plants or micro organisms to change one form of energy into… …   Energy terms

  • bioconversion — bio·conversion …   English syllables

  • bioconversion — bi•o•con•ver•sion [[t]ˌbaɪ oʊ kənˈvɜr ʒən, ʃən[/t]] n. ene the conversion of biomass to a source of usable energy • Etymology: 1955–60 …   From formal English to slang

  • bioconversion — /ˌbaɪoʊkənˈvɜʒən/ (say .buyohkuhn verzhuhn) noun the conversion of biological waste, etc., into useful products …   Australian English dictionary