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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2003 May;30(5):279-91. Epub 2003 Apr 16.

Hemicellulose bioconversion.

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Fermentation Biotechnology Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1815 North University Street, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


Various agricultural residues, such as corn fiber, corn stover, wheat straw, rice straw, and sugarcane bagasse, contain about 20-40% hemicellulose, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature. The conversion of hemicellulose to fuels and chemicals is problematic. In this paper, various pretreatment options as well as enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars is reviewed. Our research dealing with the pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification of corn fiber and development of novel and improved enzymes such as endo-xylanase, beta-xylosidase, and alpha- l-arabinofuranosidase for hemicellulose bioconversion is described. The barriers, progress, and prospects of developing an environmentally benign bioprocess for large-scale conversion of hemicellulose to fuel ethanol, xylitol, 2,3-butanediol, and other value-added fermentation products are highlighted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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