Comparison of Acidic and Basic Pretreatment on Saccharification of Water Hyacinth
Rapid industrial expansion and development has seen increased use of fossil fuels all over the world. These fuels are being consumed at an alarming rate. Our dependence on the fuels and their rapid rate of depletion has called for measures to look for alternative fuels. Bio ethanol is one such renewable fuel which is gaining importance. It can be used as a substitute to, or as a blend with petrol. Lignocellulosic materials are found to be suitable for bioethanol production. Water hyacinth, an aquatic weed, grows in most parts of the world. The considerably lower lignin and higher cellulosic content in water hyacinth makes it a good raw material for bio ethanol production, which involves three steps, namely pretreatment, saccharification and fermentation. Pretreatment is essential to break the lignin bonds so that the cellulose and hemi cellulose content are accessible to the micro organisms which produce the enzymes for saccharification. This study addresses the effect of acidic and basic pretreatment on the saccharification of water hyacinth using Aspergillus niger as inoculums. Through this experiment, it was observed that acidic pretreatment is more suitable for the process. The highest yield of reducing sugars after saccharification was obtained on the second day after inoculation and was equal to 150μg/mL. The results from this study will be incorporated in the fermentation stage of the conversion process.