Volumetric Scale-Up of a Packed-Bed Ion-Exchange System to Extract Phytate from Thin Stillage

Cristiano E. Rodrigues Reis, Bo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Phytate is the main form of phosphorus in corn ethanol coproducts and poses digestion issues in monogastric-animal feed. Extracting phytate as a commodity chemical will bring extra revenue to the corn ethanol industry and reduces potential phosphorus pollution from livestock waste management. We assessed a simplified scale-up approach of an ion-exchange separation system applied to extract phytate from thin stillage using volumetric parameters and simplifications of the van Deemter model. Thin stillage is one of the main byproducts generated on dry-grind corn-to-ethanol plants and accounts for the liquid portion of the bottom product generated in the ethanol distillation process. Thin stillage is rich in dissolved phytate, which served as the basis for an ion-exchange extraction system developed with a scalability factor of 50. Under the evaluated conditions, similar breakthrough profiles were obtained when similar Péclet and Stanton numbers were maintained for the scales studied, demonstrating that a simple and straightforward scale-up can be attained if special attention is given to maintaining both parameters as the basis of calculations of the plate numbers of ion-exchange columns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy) Global Food Venture program and the MnDRIVE—UMII (University of Minnesota Informatics Institute) Fellowship program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Ion-exchange
  • Scale-up
  • Thin stillage
  • Van Deemter

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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