, Volume 137-140, Issue 1-12, pp 339-352

Dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of agricultural and agro-industrial residues for ethanol production

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The potential of dilute-acid prehydrolysis as a pretreatment method for sugarcane bagasse, rice hulls, peanut shells, and cassava stalks was investigated. The prehydrolysis was performed at 122°C during 20, 40, or 60 min using 2% H2SO4 at a solid-to-liquid ratio of 1:10. Sugar formation increased with increasing reaction time. Xylose, glucose, arabinose, and galactose were detected in all of the prehydrolysates, whereas mannose was found only in the prehydrolysates of peanut shells and cassava stalks. The hemicelluloses of bagasse were hydrolyzed to a high-extent yielding concentrations of xylose and arabinose of 19.1 and 2.2 g/L, respectively, and a xylan conversion of more than 80%. High-glucose concentrations (26–33.5 g/L) were found in the prehydrolysates of rice hulls, probably because of hydrolysis of starch of grain remains in the hulls. Peanut shells and cassava stalks rendered low amounts of sugars on prehydrolysis, indicating that the conditions were not severeenough to hydrolyze the hemicelluloses in these materials quantitatively. All prehydrolysates were readily fermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The dilute-acid prehydrolysis resulted in a 2.7- to 3.7-fold increase of the enzymatic convertibility of bagasse, but was not efficient for improving the enzymatic hydrolysis of peanut shells, cassava stalks, or rice hulls.