Liquid hot water pretreatment to enhance the anaerobic digestion of wheat straw—effects of temperature and retention time

  • Gaoyuan Shang
  • Congguang Zhang
  • Fei Wang
  • Ling QiuEmail author
  • Xiaohui Guo
  • Fuqing XuEmail author
Research Article


Wheat straw is an abundant agricultural waste that is rich in lignocellulose. However, its waxy surface, highly crystallized structure, and limited surface area make it difficult to be hydrolyzed and used efficiently by microorganisms. Liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment was studied to explore the feasibility of improving the methane yield of wheat straw in anaerobic digestion (AD). The results showed that the crosslinking structure of wheat straw was broken by LHW pretreatment. Some pores and cracks appeared on the surface of the pretreated wheat straw, increasing the microbial attachment sites. Under different hydrothermal temperatures (150–225 °C) and retention times (5–60 min), the degradation of hemicellulose ranged from 27.69 to 99.07%. The maximum methane yield (201.81 mL CH4/g volatile solids) was achieved after LHW pretreatment at 175 °C for 30 min, which was a 62.9% increase compared with non-treated straw. LHW at high temperatures such as 225 °C was not suitable for the AD of wheat straw. Methane yield results were fitted with the first-order and modified Gompertz equations to evaluate the hydrolysis rate and inhibitory effects of the pretreated materials in AD.


Liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment Wheat straw Anaerobic digestion Kinetics model 


Author contribution

Gaoyuan Shang, Congguang Zhang, and Fei Wang designed and carried out the experiment. Gaoyuan Shang and Congguang Zhang prepared the manuscript. Xiaohui Guo and Fuqing Xu analyzed the data and summarized the discussion. Ling Qiu and Fuqing Xu revised the manuscript and provided the supervision and funding.

Funding information

The authors are also grateful for the support of the Agricultural Public Welfare Industry Research of China’s Ministry of agriculture (201503135-18), the National Foundation of Natural Science (51576167), Special Agricultural Program of Shaanxi Province (2017-136), and the Postgraduate Scholarship Project of China Scholarship Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Mechanical and Electronic EngineeringNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Western Scientific Observation and Experiment Station of Development and Utilization of Rural Renewable Energy of Ministry of AgricultureNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityWoosterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Settlement and Civil EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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