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Typical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into reducing sugars using dilute acid hydrolysis and alkaline pretreatment

Loow, Yu-Loong, Wu, Ta Yeong, Md. Jahim, Jamaliah, Mohammad, Abdul Wahab, Teoh, Wen Hui
Cellulose 2016 v.23 no.3 pp. 1491-1520
acid hydrolysis, alkali treatment, alkaline hydrolysis, biofuels, biomass, biotransformation, cellulose, economic sustainability, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, fossil fuels, hemicellulose, hot water treatment, lignin, lignocellulose, reducing sugars
The development and production of fossil fuel alternatives have become one of the main focal points in recent investigations. Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable source of fermentable sugars for second-generation biofuels and chemicals via biotechnological pathways. However, the presence of lignin and hemicellulose in lignocellulosic biomass makes it difficult for the biomass to be hydrolyzed or digested during fermentation. Thus, effective biomass pretreatment is vital. The present review shows that chemical pretreatment is the current preferred method to obtain high sugar yields at low cost, with dilute acid and alkaline hydrolysis as the two most reported technologies. Dilute acid favours hydrolysis of the hemicelluloses whereas alkaline hydrolysis targets the lignin fraction. Both methods have merits and demerits, and have been combined with other treatments such as hydrothermal and enzymatic hydrolysis. Further investigation is required to improve the pretreatment processes and to ensure the economic viability of bioconversion.