Author(s): Yang B, Wyman CE
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Abstract Compared with batch systems, flowthrough and countercurrent reactors have important potential advantages for pretreating cellulosic biomass, including higher hemicellulose sugar yields, enhanced cellulose digestibility, and reduced chemical additions. Unfortunately, they suffer from high water and energy use. To better understand these trade-offs, comparative data are reported on xylan and lignin removal and enzymatic digestibility of cellulose for corn stover pretreated in batch and flowthrough reactors over a range of flow rates between 160 degrees and 220 degrees C, with water only and also with 0.1 wt\% sulfuric acid. Increasing flow with just water enhanced the xylan dissolution rate, more than doubled total lignin removal, and increased cellulose digestibility. Furthermore, adding dilute sulfuric acid increased the rate of xylan removal for both batch and flowthrough systems. Interestingly, adding acid also increased the lignin removal rate with flow, but less lignin was left in solution when acid was added in batch. Although the enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated cellulose was related to xylan removal, as others have shown, the digestibility was much better for flowthrough compared with batch systems, for the same degree of xylan removal. Cellulose digestibility for flowthrough reactors was related to lignin removal as well. These results suggest that altering lignin also affects the enzymatic digestibility of corn stover. Copyright 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This article was published in Biotechnol Bioeng
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation