Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 35–49

Detoxification of lignocellulose hydrolysates with ion-exchange resins


  • Nils-Olof Nilvebrant
    • STFISwedish Pulp and Paper Research Institute
  • Anders Reimann
    • STFISwedish Pulp and Paper Research Institute
  • Simona Larsson
    • Applied MicrobilogyLund University/Lund Institute of Technology
    • Applied MicrobilogyLund University/Lund Institute of Technology

DOI: 10.1385/ABAB:91-93:1-9:35

Cite this article as:
Nilvebrant, N., Reimann, A., Larsson, S. et al. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2001) 91: 35. doi:10.1385/ABAB:91-93:1-9:35


Lignocellulose hydrolysates contain fermentation inhibitors causing decreased ethanol production. The inhibitors include phenolic compounds, furan aldehydes, and aliphatic acids. One of the most efficient methods for removing inhibiting compounds prior to fermentation is treatment of the hydrolysate with ion-exchange resins. The performance and detoxification mechanism of three different resins were examined: an anion exchanger, a cation exchanger, and a resin without charged groups (XAD8). A dilute acid hydrolysate of spruce was treated with the resins at pH 5.5 and 10.0 prior to ethanolic fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition to the experiments with hydrolysate, the effect of the resins on selected model compounds, three phenolics (vanillin, guaiacol, and coniferyl aldehyde) and two furan aldehydes (furfural and hydroxymethyl furfural), was determined. The cation exchanger increased ethanol production, but to a lesser extent than XAD-8, which in turn was less effective than the an ion exchanger. Treatment at pH 10.0 was more effective than at pH 5.5. At pH 10.0, the anion exchanger efficiently removed both anionic and uncharged inhibitors, the latter by hydrophobic interactions. The importance of hydrophobic interactions was further indicated by a substantial decrease in the concentration of model compounds, such as guaiacol and furfural, after treatment with XAD-8.

Index Entries

Detoxificationinhibitionethanol productionSaccharomyces cerevisiaesoftwoodion exchange
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© Humana Press Inc 2001