Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 184, Issue 4, pp 1142–1154 | Cite as

Conversion of Sago (Metroxylon sagu) Pith Waste to Fermentable Sugars via a Facile Depolymerization Process

  • Suh Cem Pang
  • Lee Ken Voon
  • Suk Fun Chin


The conversion of starchy sago (Metroxylon sagu) pith waste (SPW), a lignocellulosic biomass waste, to fermentable sugars under mild conditions had been successfully demonstrated. The optimum depolymerization of SPW was achieved at 2 wt% sample loading which was catalyzed by 100 mM of oxalic acid in the presence of 25 wt% NaCl solution at 110 °C for 3 h. Up to 97% SPW sample was being converted into fermentable sugars with limited formation of by-products after two sequential depolymerization cycles. Both reaction temperature and concentration of oxalic acid were crucial parameters for the depolymerization of SPW which exhibited a high selectivity for the production of glucose over other reducing sugars.


Depolymerization Inorganic salt Dicarboxylic acid Lignocellulosic biomass 



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support rendered by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) via the award of fundamental research grants (Grant No. FRGS/ST01(01)/967/2013(08) and F07/FRGS/1495/2016), as well as research management and support provided by the Research Innovation and Management Center (RIMC), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Resource Science and TechnologyUniversiti Malaysia SarawakKota SamarahanMalaysia

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