Document Type : Research Paper
Brewing Science Section, Division of Food Sciences, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, United Kingdom
Advanced generation biofuel production from lignocellulosic material (LCM) was investigated. A range of different thermo-chemical pre-treatments were evaluated with different LCM. The pre-treatments included; alkaline (5% NaOH at 50°C), acid (1% H2SO4 at 121°C) and autohydrolytical methods (200°C aqueous based hydrothermal) and were evaluated using samples of miscanthus, wheat-straw and willow. The liberation of sugars, presence of inhibitory compounds, and the degree of enhancement of enzymatic saccharification was accessed. The suitability of the pre-treatment generated hydrolysates (as bioethanol feedstocks for Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was also accessed using a phenotypic microarray that measured yeast metabolic output. The use of the alkaline pre-treatment liberated more glucose and arabinose into both the pre-treatment generated hydrolysate and also the hydrolysate produced after enzymatic hydrolysis (when compared with other pre-treatments). However, hydrolysates derived from use of alkaline pre-treatments were shown to be unsuitable as a fermentation medium due to issues with colloidal stability (high viscosity). Use of acid or autohydrolytical pre-treatments liberated high concentrations of monosaccharides regardless of the LCM used and the hydrolysates had good fermentation performance with measurable yeast metabolic output. Acid pre-treated wheat straw hydrolysates were then used as a model system for larger scale fermentations to confirm both the results of the phenotypic microarray and its validity as an effective high-throughput screening tool.
Efficacy of pre-treatments on different lignocellulosic materials tested.
Phenotypic microarray was used to access fermentation.
Alkaline system liberated more sugar but hydrolysates not as fermentable.
Acid system had best fermentability.
Acetic acid and furfural present reduced ethanol production to 70% theoretical yield.