Biological Systems Engineering, Department of


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Published in Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology Part A: Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology 142 (2007), pp. 276–290; doi: 10.1007/s12010-007-0026-3 Copyright © 2007 Humana Press Inc. (Springer Verlag). Used by permission.


Production of bioethanol from agricultural residues and hays (wheat, barley, and triticale straws, and barley, triticale, pearl millet, and sweet sorghum hays) through a series of chemical pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation processes was investigated in this study. Composition analysis suggested that the agricultural straws and hays studied contained approximately 28.62–38.58% glucan, 11.19–20.78% xylan, and 22.01–27.57% lignin, making them good candidates for bioethanol production. Chemical pretreatment with sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0% indicated that concentration and treatment agent play a significant role during pretreatment. After 2.0% sulfuric acid pretreatment at 121°C/15 psi for 60 min, 78.10–81.27% of the xylan in untreated feedstocks was solubilized, while 75.09–84.52% of the lignin was reduced after 2.0% sodium hydroxide pretreatment under similar conditions. Enzymatic hydrolysis of chemically pretreated (2.0% NaOH or H2SO4) solids with Celluclast 1.5 L–Novozym 188 (cellobiase) enzyme combination resulted in equal or higher glucan and xylan conversion than with Spezyme® CP- xylanase combination. The glucan and xylan conversions during hydrolysis with Celluclast 1.5 L–cellobiase at 40 FPU/g glucan were 78.09 to 100.36% and 74.03 to 84.89%, respectively. Increasing the enzyme loading from 40 to 60 FPU/g glucan did not significantly increase sugar yield. The ethanol yield after fermentation of the hydrolyzate from different feedstocks with Saccharomyces cerevisiae ranged from 0.27 to 0.34 g/g glucose or 52.00–65.82% of the theoretical maximum ethanol yield.