Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, chemicals, value added
products, feed, materials and energy from biomass. The BEACON biorefinery platform is an innovation lead research
project focused on working with businesses to develop new products, processes and methodologies that can deliver on innovation
and commercial impact. Processing and conversion of plant biomass presents a variety of opportunities for optimization.
Developments in conversion technologies will be part of the challenge e.g. developing new pre-treatment techniques for the
direct conversion of plant biomass. At present, there is a need for more efficient and robust techniques that can convert more
biomass with less inhibitors. Progress in these areas will enable efficient conversion/ fermentation of plant based substrates into
higher value products. We are currently optimizing pre-treatment technologies using Taguchi based design of experiments for
oat hulls at pilot scale.
A Taguchi based Design of experiments (DOE) was employed to conduct experiments to investigate the pre-treatment
process and optimize the pre-treatment conditions. The Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was carried out to detect the optimal
level and to understand individual and interactive effects of each factor on pre-treatment. Pre-treatments based on two-step
steam explosion combined with an intermediate separation were employed to reduce inhibitor content. This two-step steam
explosion reduces the inhibitor content, promotes the fermentation of lignocellulose, and simplifies the process of excluding the
Sreenivas Rao Ravella has completed his Ph.D. in microbiology from Osmania University and postdoctoral studies from Centre for Cellular and
Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, India. He is a senior fermentation scientist at Institute of Biological and Environmental Rural Sciences
(IBERS), a premier research organization in UK. He has published more than 40 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as a reviewer for
several scientific journals.
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