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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2003 Spring;105 -108:115-25.

Effect of sulfuric and phosphoric acid pretreatments on enzymatic hydrolysis of corn stover.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


The pretreatment of corn stover with H2SO4 and H3PO4 was investigated. Pretreatments were carried out from 30 to 120 min in a batch reactor at 121 degrees C, with acid concentrations ranging from 0 to 2% (w/v) at a solid concentration of 5% (w/v). Pretreated corn stover was washed with distilled water until the filtrate was adjusted to pH 7.0, followed by surfactant swelling of the cellulosic fraction in a 0-10% (w/v) solution of Tween-80 at room temperature for 12 h. The dilute acid treatment proved to be a very effective method in terms of hemicellulose recovery and cellulose digestibility. Hemicellulose recovery was 62-90%, and enzymatic digestibility of the cellulose that remained in the solid was >80% with 2% (w/v) acid. In all cases studied, the performance of H2SO4 pretreatment (hemicellulose recovery and cellulose digestibility) was significantly better than obtained with H3PO4. Enzymatic hydrolysis was more effective using surfactant than without it, producing 10-20% more sugar. Furthermore, digestibility was investigated as a function of hemicellulose removal. It was found that digestibility was more directly related to hemicellulose removal than to delignification.

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