Received date: August 22, 2012; Accepted date: August 24, 2012; Published date: August 26, 2012
Citation: Nasir Iqbal HM, Kamal S (2012) Economical Bioconversion of Lignocellulosic Materials to Value-Added Products. J Biotechnol Biomater 2:e112. doi:10.4172/2155-952X.1000e112
Copyright: © 2012 Nasir Iqbal HM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Lignicellulosic material; Green chemistry; Bio-fuel; Pretreatment
Lignocellulosic materials are the most promising feedstock as natural, abundant, and renewable resource and can potentially provide a long term sustainable fuel supply . Increasing costs of fossil fuels and their greenhouse gases emission effects are creating a dire need to explore cheaper and environment friendly bio-fuels as a strategy for reducing global warming. Currently, bio-ethanol is produced on industrial scale from sucrose and starch based grains; however, these bio-ethanol production systems pose concerns about competition with food and feed supplies. However, the feed stocks for bio-ethanol production should be derived from inedible parts of food crops, in order to avoid direct competition between bio-ethanol and food productions. One potential method for the low-cost fermentative production of ethanol is to utilize lignocellulosic or agro-industrial waste materials (e.g. wood, straw, switch grass, banana waste, wheat straw, rice straw, corn stover, corn cobs, sugar cane bagasse, apple pomace, orange peel, and paper waste) because they contain carbohydrates that must be first converted into simple sugars (glucose) and then fermented into ethanol . A few years ago these wastes were considered as a major source of environmental/ecological pollution but now they have gained a special importance because of their renewable nature . However, large-scale economical commercial production of fuel ethanol from lignocellulosic materials has still not been implemented. Because the transformation of biological resources like energy-rich crops or lignocellulosic biomass requires pre-treatment of the feedstock for fermenting and to convert them into ethanol.
In industrial scale ethanol production from lignocellulosic residues, the alkali pre-treatment of substrates for removal of lignin barrier is one of the bottle neck problems because it substantially adds to the overall production cost and also contributes to environmental issues. There is a dire need to develop a cheaper biological process for de-lignifications of lignocellulosic biomass. In current scenario pretreatment has been considered to be one of the most expensive steps in the process of lignocellulose to ethanol conversion. An effective pretreatment aims at reducing the size of biomass particles, minimizing the loss of both hexoses and pentoses, maximizing lignin removal, and reducing the overall cost of the process. Recent advances in characterization of ligninolytic enzymes involved in degradation of lignin have given new impetus to the research in this area which has now become amenable to the biotechnological exploitation [1,4]. Biodelignification is useful in the pre-treatment and replaces the chemical based pre-treatments which include mechanical treatment with acid, alkali, and steam explosion.
Environmental pollution awareness and the demand for green chemistry technology have drawn considerable attention to develop new technologies aiming at especially liquid bio-fuels suitable as transportation fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass provides a noteworthy solution in respect to the direct competition with food stuff, therefore, should be the favored as a raw material for liquid bio-fuels of future. In this regard lignocellulosic biomass holds considerable potential for renewable fuels like bio-ethanol production to meet the current energy demand of the modern world. Although the main challenge facing lignolellulosic materials utilization is the high costs involved in treatment and production processes. In conclusion enzymatic delignifications treatment of waste biomass could be of particular interest, since it seems an eco-friendly approach to carry out waste biomass treatment and concomitant glucose production that can be further use for bio-ethanol production. In current scenario future trends are being directed to enzyme based biotechnology and genetic engineering for improved processes and products. To overcome the current energy problems it is envisaged that lignolellulosic materials in addition of green chemistry will be the main focus of the future research.
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