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Evaluation of dilute acid and alkaline pretreatments, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of napiergrass for fuel ethanol production

Camesasca, Laura, Ramírez, María Belén, Guigou, Mairan, Ferrari, Mario Daniel, Lareo, Claudia
Biomass and bioenergy 2015 v.74 pp. 193-201
Pennisetum purpureum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Scheffersomyces stipitis, alkali treatment, beta-glucosidase, byproducts, calcium hydroxide, cellulose, enzymatic hydrolysis, ethanol, ethanol fuels, ethanol production, farming systems, fermentation, food prices, hemicellulose, hydrolysates, hydrolysis, lignin, raw materials, sugars, sulfuric acid
Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) is a promising low cost raw material which does not compete with food prices, has attractive yields and an environmentally friendly farming. Dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of napiergrass was effective to obtain high yields of sugars and low level of degradation by-products from hemicellulose. Detoxification with Ca(OH)2 removed inhibitors but showed sugars loss. An ethanol concentration of 21 g/L after 176 h was found from the hydrolyzate using Pichia stipitis NBRC 10063 (fermentation efficiency 66%). An additional alkaline pretreatment applied to the solid fraction remaining from the diluted acid pretreatment improved the lignin removal. The highest cellulose hydrolysis values were found with the addition of β-glucosidase and PEG 6000. The simultaneous hydrolysis and fermentation of the cellulosic fraction with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, 10% (w/v) solid concentration, β-glucosidase and PEG 6000, showed the highest ethanol concentration (24 g/L), and cellulose hydrolysis values (81%). 162 L ethanol/t of dry napiergrass were produced (overall efficiency of 52%): 128 L/t from the cellulosic fraction and 34 L/t from the hemicellulosic fraction.