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Sustainable biobutanol production using alkali-catalyzed organosolv pretreated cornstalks

Tang, Chenglun, Chen, Yanjun, Liu, Jun, Shen, Tao, Cao, Zhi, Shan, Junqiang, Zhu, Chenjie, Ying, Hanjie
Industrial crops and products 2017 v.95 pp. 383-392
alternative fuels, antioxidant activity, biofuels, cellulose, chemical structure, corn stover, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, fractionation, fuel production, glycemic control, hemicellulose, hydrolysates, lignin, sodium hydroxide
Biobutanol is an important alternative fuel source, but current processing methods suffer from low yields. This study aimed to develop and optimize a pretreatment protocol for biobutanol production from cornstalks. Fractionation of cornstalks into carbohydrate (cellulose and hemicellulose) and lignin was performed by alkali-catalyzed organosolv pretreatment (ACOS). After optimization of the process parameters, more than 80% of the total lignin was removed, with minimal hemicellulose degradation, at 110°C, 4% (w/w dry cornstalk) NaOH, 90min reaction time, and 60% (v/v) ethanol. After enzymatic hydrolysis, the maximum recovery of total monosaccharide was 83.7% (85.0% cellulose, 82.0% hemicellulose). In acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation, a slightly higher total ABE concentration (12.8g/L vs. 11.9g/L) was produced from the enzymatic hydrolysate, compared with that from a glucose control. The physical structure and chemical properties of alkali-catalyzed organosolv lignin (ACOSL) showed higher phenolic group content and antioxidant capacity compared with alkali lignin. ACOS pretreatment is an economical method for the production of fermentable monosaccharide and high-value lignin, for use in biofuel production.