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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2009 Jun;20(3):372-80. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2009.05.009. Epub 2009 Jun 6.

New improvements for lignocellulosic ethanol.

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IFP, Department of Biotechnology, 1 & 4 avenue de Bois-Préau, 92852 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France.


The use of lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels will be unavoidable if liquid fossil fuels are to be replaced by renewable and sustainable alternatives. Ethanol accounts for the majority of biofuel use worldwide, and the prospect of its biological production from abundant lignocellulosic feedstocks is attractive. The recalcitrance of these raw materials still renders proposed processes complex and costly, but there are grounds for optimism. The application of new, engineered enzyme systems for cellulose hydrolysis, the construction of inhibitor-tolerant pentose-fermenting industrial yeast strains, combined with optimized process integration promise significant improvements. The opportunity to test these advances in pilot plants paves the way for large-scale units. This review summarizes recent progress in this field, including the validation at pilot scale, and the economic and environmental impacts of this production pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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