I did an experiment using nine different substrates (Lactose + lactase, corn, sugar cane, glucose control, wood, grass, no yeast control and yeast control) and observed their fermentation rates. Lactose + lactase had the highest fermentation rate. So now my question is: is there a usage of lactase in aiding the break down of lactose to make biofuels? I did a web search and all I could find was that lactase was used for helping lactose-intolerant people,etc. And that the current whey-ethanol industry used special species of yeast that break down lactose directly instead of the enzyme lactase. There are other methods too, including the Carbery and the Bio-process Innovation (BPI) processes; all of which use yeast that can directly break down lactose. Does lactase play no role in the biofuel industry? And why don't people use lactase to aid them in making biofuels?

  • $\begingroup$ Lactase on its own doesn't ferment anything. Also, yeast produce lactase in response to lactose. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Jan 31 '15 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Cost, I imagine. Lactase is probably harvested from yeast exposed to lactose, so it seems a little odd to grow the yeast on lactose, harvest the lactase, then put that in a mixture with other lactose. Skip the middleman and put in the yeast directly, plus then it replicates. $\endgroup$ – Resonating Jan 31 '15 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with you Resonating. I think adding extra lactase enzyme would be an extra step. And would be expensive... $\endgroup$ – liya77 Feb 1 '15 at 3:25

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