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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2010 Dec;162(8):2313-23. doi: 10.1007/s12010-010-9004-2. Epub 2010 Jun 6.

Formic acid as a potential pretreatment agent for the conversion of sugarcane bagasse to bioethanol.

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  • 1Centre for Biofuels, National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Trivandrum 695019, India.


In recent years, growing attention has been focused on the use of lignocellulosic biomass as a feedstock for the production of ethanol, a possible renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Several pretreatment processes have been developed for decreasing the biomass recalcitrance, but only a few of them seem to be promising. In this study, effect of various organic solvents and organic acids on the pretreatment of sugarcane bagasse was studied. Among the different organic acids and organic solvents tested, formic acid was found to be effective. Optimization of process parameters for formic acid pretreatment was carried out. The structural changes before and after pretreatment was investigated by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis. The X-ray diffraction profile showed that the degree of crystallinity was more for pretreated biomass than that of untreated. The FTIR spectra shown at the stretching of hydrogen bonds of pretreated sugarcane bagasse arose at higher number. It also revealed that the cellulose content in the solid residue increased because the hemicelluloses fraction in raw materials was released by acid hydrolytic reaction.

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