Sago palm is very efficient in photosynthesizing biomass from carbon dioxide, potentially producing 15-20 t of starch per ha per year. This is the highest productivity so far recorded when compared to cereals such as rice, and the other starchy crops (18). This is an extremely high yield. In Sarawak, Malaysia and Riau, Indonesia, sago plantations are under development (19). In the near future, these plantations will be ready for the starch harvesting. Photosynthesis is the best process for the recycling of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into biomass, and the efficiency of photosynthesis in tropical areas is higher than in moderate and northern areas of the earth.
If biomass can be used in place of petroleum, it will be reduced petroleum consumption. At the same time, carbon dioxide is recycled when the product from biomass decomposes. PLA, biodegradable plastics, must be a good choice for this purpose (20). The new fermentation system can produce 0,72 metric ton of L-lactic acid per day by 1 K1 fermentor. Therefore, about 25,000 ton of L-lactic acid can be produced by one 100 Kl size fermentor in a year. Advanced L-glutamic acid fermentation is possible to accumulate 50-100 g/l of the product in culture liquid for about 2 days batch or fed-batch culture (21). Therefore productivity of glutamic acid fermentation is about 900-1,500 ton per year by one 100 kl size ferment or. Our system is about 20 times of the volumetric productivity of modern L-glutamic acid fermentation. Process yield of L-lactic acid from sago starch i$ about 100% (105 % from starch to glucose and 95% from glucose to lactic acid so that nearly 100 % for overall process), so that one 100 Kl size fermentor would consume the starch of about 1,000 ha plantation. Fig. 5 shows the model of sago industry that produces PL Aftom sago plantation. In each 1,000 ha of sago plantation, one fermentation plant with one 100 Kl fermentor of continuous, fermentation system is installed This is similar to an oil palm plantation with an oil milt for crude palm oil extraction.
L-lactic acid fermentation requires nutrition rich oiganic nitrogen compound such as yeast extract (brew^'s waste) and corn steep liquor (waste j
Fig. 5. Sago Industry: PLA production incorporated with Sago plantation
Fig. 5. Sago Industry: PLA production incorporated with Sago plantation and natural rubber plantationforfermentation.
from corn starch process). The author has found that natural rubber waste (waste from latex is excellent nutrition for lactic acid fomentation (22). Sago plantation is sometimes located near by rubber plantation.
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