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J Biosci Bioeng. 2010 Oct;110(4):453-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2010.05.002. Epub 2010 Jun 4.

Enzymatic digestion of corncobs pretreated with low strength of sulfuric acid for bioethanol production.

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Asian Center for Environmental Research, Meisei University, 2-1-1 Hodokubo, Hino-shi, Tokyo 191-8506, Japan.


In this study, the effect and the optimum pretreatment condition of corncobs using low strength of H2SO4 were investigated, in which H2SO4 was used to improve the enzymatic digestibility of corncobs for saccharification without degradation of sugars released. The optimum pretreatment condition was found to be the addition of 0.5% (vol./vol.) H2SO4 and autoclaving at 122°C for 20 min. Under this condition, the structural integrity of corncob was altered to make cellulose microfibrils more accessible for cellulase enzymes, and the enzymatic digestion of corncobs could be significantly enhanced. A high yield of sugar, 80% (wt./wt.), could be obtained at a low enzyme dosage of 0.024 g enzymes/g cobs, when pretreated. As a result, the ethanol production was obviously improved by the pretreatment, i.e., the ethanol yield of 77% (wt./wt.) was obtained within 36 h in the SSF fermentation using Saccharomyces cerevisiae NBRC2114.

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