Optimization of steam explosion to enhance hemicellulose recovery and enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose in softwoods
A combination of Douglas fir heartwood and sapwood chips were steam pretreated under three conditions as measured by the Severity Factor (log Ro), which incorporated the time, temperature/pressure of pretreatment. By adjusting the steam pretreatment conditions, it was hoped to recover the majority of the hemicellulose component as monomers in the water-soluble stream, while providing a cellulosic-rich, water-insoluble fraction that could be readily hydrolyzed by cellulases. These three conditions were chosen to represent either high hemicellulose sugar recovery (low severity [L], log Ro=3.08), high-enzyme hydrolyzability of the cellulosic component (high severity [H], log Ro=4.21), and a compromise between the two conditions (medium severity [M], log Ro=3.45). The medium-severity pretreatment conditions (195°C, 4.5 min, 4.5% SO2 logRo=3.45) gave the best compromise in terms of relatively high hemicellulose recovery after stream pretreatment and the subsequent efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis of the water-insoluble cellulosic fraction. The percent recovery of the original hemicellulose in the water-soluble fraction dropped significantly when the severity was increased (L-76.8%, M-64.7%, and H-37.5%). However, the ease of enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose-rich, water-insoluble fraction increased with increasing severity (L-24%, M-86.6%, and H-97.9%). Although more severe pretreatment conditions provided optimum hydrolysis of the cellulosic component, less severe conditions resulted in better recovery of the combined hemicellulose and cellulosic components.
Index entriesSteam explosion hemicellulose enzymatic hydrolysis softwood
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