, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 362-370
Date: 29 Sep 2013

Comparison of Dilute Acid and Sulfite Pretreatment for Enzymatic Saccharification of Earlywood and Latewood of Douglas fir

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This study applied dilute acid (DA) and sulfite pretreatment to overcome the recalcitrance of lignocelluloses (SPORL) to deconstruct earlywood and latewood cell walls of Douglas fir for fermentable sugars production through subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis. DA pretreatment removed almost all the hemicelluloses, while SPORL at initial pH = 4.5 (SP-B) removed significant amount of lignin between 20 and 25 %. But both are not sufficient for effective enzymatic saccharification. SPORL at low initial pH = 2 (SP-AB) combines the advantage of both DA and SPORL-B to achieve approximately 90 % hemicellulose removal and delignification of 10–20 %. As a result, SP-AB effectively removed recalcitrance and thereby significantly improved enzymatic saccharification compared with DA and SP-B. Results also showed that earlywood with significantly lower density produced less saccharification after DA pretreatment, suggesting that wood density does not contribute to recalcitrance. The thick cell wall of latewood did not limit chemical penetration in pretreatments. The high lignin content of earlywood limited the effectiveness of DA pretreatment for enzymatic saccharification, while hemicellulose limits the effectiveness of high pH pretreatment of SP-B. The higher hemicellulose content in the earlywood and latewood of heartwood reduced saccharification relative to the corresponding earlywood and latewood in the sapwood using DA and SP-AB.

This work was conducted while Zhang was a visiting student at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory and on official government time of Zhu and Scott.