Enhanced Bioethanol Production from Blue Agave Bagasse in a Combined Extrusion–Saccharification Process
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This paper describes an improved process for bioethanol production using a recently developed combined extrusion–saccharification technology. Blue agave bagasse (BAB) was pretreated via a thermo-mechano-chemical process (co-rotational twin-screw, reactive extrusion) to increase the availability of cellulose and hemicellulose for enzymatic saccharification. Then, several commercial enzyme preparations, boosted with accessory enzymes (exoglucanase, endoglucanase, hemicellulase, xylanase, and β-glucosidase), were tested with extruded BAB at 5 % consistency in a stirred vessel. The enzyme blend that produced the highest saccharification yield was evaluated at different BAB consistencies. The obtained concentration of sugars increased up to 69.5 g/L (73 % yield) when a 20 % BAB mixture was used. When the enzyme blend was fed into the extruder and with a residence time of 2 min, the yield reached 15 % of the maximum theoretical of C6 sugars along this step. This extruded and pre-saccharified BAB was further hydrolyzed and used for fermentation. The pre-saccharification step significantly enhanced cellulose degradation and ethanol production. Our results indicate that the enzymatic saccharification of BAB, coupled with reactive extrusion, produces an excellent substrate for bioethanol production.
KeywordsBioethanol production Lignocellulosic materials Cellulose degradation Cellulases Bioextrusion Enzymatic hydrolysis
This work was funded by the European Community, Seventh Framework Program, under grant agreement no. 227498 (BABETHANOL PROJECT). It is also part of a research project carried out through the Bioenergy Thematic Network (“Red Temática de Bioenergía”) with partial support from the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), grant no. 260457. The authors wish to thank Advanced Enzyme Technologies, Novozyme, Enmex, Genecore, and Lallemand for kindly supplying enzymes and yeast. We also thank PATRON Spirits Company and Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) for the supply of raw BAB. Technical training and discussions with several members of the BABETHANOL team (INPT, CIEMAT, INSA, and VTT, mostly) are gratefully acknowledged.
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