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Bioresour Technol. 2013 May;135:58-66. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.10.050. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Ethanol-based organosolv fractionation of wheat straw for the production of lignin and enzymatically digestible cellulose.

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Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Biomass & Energy Efficiency, P.O. Box 1, 1755 ZG, Petten, The Netherlands.


Wheat straw fractionation by ethanol organosolv was studied as pretreatment for enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis. A parametric study focusing on temperature, reaction time, acid catalyst dose, solvent concentration, and particle size was performed to determine their influence on delignification, xylan hydrolysis, and enzymatic cellulose digestibility. Major process parameters were found to be temperature, ethanol concentration, and acid dose. Optimisation of the process towards enzymatic digestibility resulted in a maximum glucose yield of 86% without the use of a catalyst (lignin yield 84%, organosolv at 210 °C, 50% w/w aqueous EtOH). Using 30 mM H2SO4 as catalyst resulted in similar glucose and lignin yields at a lower temperature (190 °C, 60% w/w aqueous EtOH). Lowering the pretreatment temperature by using an acid catalyst substantially improved the yield of the hemicellulose derivatives xylose and furfural. A systematic approach in pretreatment optimisation is vital for development of efficient lignocellulosic biorefineries.

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