Dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of agricultural and agro-industrial residues for ethanol production.

Research paper by Carlos C Martin, Björn B Alriksson, Anders A Sjöde, Nils-Olof NO Nilvebrant, Leif J LJ Jönsson

Indexed on: 15 May '08Published on: 15 May '08Published in: Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology


The potential of dilute-acid prehydrolysis as a pretreatment method for sugarcane bagasse, rice hulls, peanut shells, and cassava stalks was investigated. The prehydrolysis was performed at 122 degrees C during 20, 40, or 60 min using 2% H(2)SO(4) at a solid-to-liquid ratio of 1:10. Sugar formation increased with increasing reaction time. Xylose, glucose, arabinose, and galactose were detected in all of the prehydrolysates, whereas mannose was found only in the prehydrolysates of peanut shells and cassava stalks. The hemicelluloses of bagasse were hydrolyzed to a high-extent yielding concentrations of xylose and arabinose of 19.1 and 2.2 g/L, respectively, and a xylan conversion of more than 80%. High-glucose concentrations (26-33.5 g/L) were found in the prehydrolysates of rice hulls, probably because of hydrolysis of starch of grain remains in the hulls. Peanut shells and cassava stalks rendered low amounts of sugars on prehydrolysis, indicating that the conditions were not severe enough to hydrolyze the hemicelluloses in these materials quantitatively. All prehydrolysates were readily fermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The dilute-acid prehydrolysis resulted in a 2.7- to 3.7-fold increase of the enzymatic convertibility of bagasse, but was not efficient for improving the enzymatic hydrolysis of peanut shells, cassava stalks, or rice hulls.