In June, thousands of ethanol industry professionals from more than 30 countries will gather at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) in Minneapolis, MN. And for many, the focus of the event will be on the world-class presentations related to commercial-scale ethanol production.

This year, Novozymes will be giving five presentations—chosen by an abstract rating committee of industry experts—and we will be previewing each in a five-part series leading up to the event, starting today.

Mike Smith: Getting the most out of your HPLC

HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) testing is the main fermentation monitoring instrument used by the ethanol industry. But while there is a standard set of compounds that most producers analyze, the instrument itself can be adjusted to provide more accurate information.

And according to Mike Smith, Group Leader for Biofuel Technical Service at Novozymes, knowing how to achieve this accuracy is a critical piece of the fermentation puzzle.

“The HPLC is not a black box; you don’t just give it a sample and get data in return,” said Smith. “There are some nuances to it and important considerations when you’re running HPLC. Enzymes can also affect the results that you get.”

Making these minor adjustments to ensure accurate and precise quantification of all the compounds you’re measuring, Smith said, helps ensure that your fermentation recipe adjustments are going to have the desired results.

“In my presentation, I’m going to explain how to correctly quantify residual sugars and fusels, talking a little about fusels measurements in a general sense,” Smith said.

Smith noted that fusels can affect fermentation performance, but quantifying them can be difficult. And though dextrins and other sugars are typically quantified using HPLC, their quantification is affected by the enzymes used in the process. To this end, Smith added that he plans to explain how both phytase and trehalase affect quantification of sugars on HPLC and how to ensure your instrument is correctly quantifying these compounds.

“HPLC is the workhorse of the lab,” Smith said. “You need to make sure it’s producing good data so that you’re making good decisions.”

Smith, who previously spoke at FEW in 2013, will present the topic of “Getting the Most Out of Your HPLC” on Tuesday, June 20. The talk will take place as part of Track 1 in Room 101 HI from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Will you be attending FEW 2017?

If so, be sure to stop by Novozymes’ booth, #1021, at the Expo’s Coffee Bar and Lounge — refuel, and feel free to chat up the on-hand Novozymes representatives about our newest products, services and training solutions!

In the meantime, follow along on Twitter using #FEW17, and check back here for weekly updates.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.