, Volume 63-65, Issue 1, pp 3-19

Lime pretreatment of switchgrass


Lime (calcium hydroxide) was used as a pretreatment agent to enhance the enzymatic digestibility of switchgrass. After studying many conditions, the recommended pretreatment conditions are: time = 2 h, temperature = 100°C and 120°C, lime loading = 0.1 g Ca(OH)2/g dry biomass, water loading = 9 mL/g dry biomass. Studies on the effect of particle size indicate that there was little benefit of grinding below 20 mesh; even coarse particles (4–10 mesh) digested well. Using the recommended pretreatment conditions, the 3-d reducing sugar yield was five times that of untreated switchgrass, the 3-d total sugar (glucose + xylose) yield was seven times, the 3-d glucose yield was five times, and the 3-d xylose yield was 21 times. A material balance study showed that little glucan (approx 10%) was solubilized as a result of the lime pretreatment, whereas about 26% of xylan and 29% of lignin became solubilized.