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      A novel cost-effective technology to convert sucrose and homocelluloses in sweet sorghum stalks into ethanol

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          Abstract

          Background

          Sweet sorghum is regarded as a very promising energy crop for ethanol production because it not only supplies grain and sugar, but also offers lignocellulosic resource. Cost-competitive ethanol production requires bioconversion of all carbohydrates in stalks including of both sucrose and lignocellulose hydrolyzed into fermentable sugars. However, it is still a main challenge to reduce ethanol production cost and improve feasibility of industrial application. An integration of the different operations within the whole process is a potential solution.

          Results

          An integrated process combined advanced solid-state fermentation technology (ASSF) and alkaline pretreatment was presented in this work. Soluble sugars in sweet sorghum stalks were firstly converted into ethanol by ASSF using crushed stalks directly. Then, the operation combining ethanol distillation and alkaline pretreatment was performed in one distillation-reactor simultaneously. The corresponding investigation indicated that the addition of alkali did not affect the ethanol recovery. The effect of three alkalis, NaOH, KOH and Ca(OH) 2 on pretreatment were investigated. The results indicated the delignification of lignocellulose by NaOH and KOH was more significant than that by Ca(OH) 2, and the highest removal of xylan was caused by NaOH. Moreover, an optimized alkali loading of 10% (w/w DM) NaOH was determined. Under this favorable pretreatment condition, enzymatic hydrolysis of sweet sorghum bagasse following pretreatment was investigated. 92.0% of glucan and 53.3% of xylan conversion were obtained at enzyme loading of 10 FPU/g glucan. The fermentation of hydrolyzed slurry was performed using an engineered stain, Zymomonas mobilis TSH-01. A mass balance of the overall process was calculated, and 91.9 kg was achieved from one tonne of fresh sweet sorghum stalk.

          Conclusions

          A low energy-consumption integrated technology for ethanol production from sweet sorghum stalks was presented in this work. Energy consumption for raw materials preparation and pretreatment were reduced or avoided in our process. Based on this technology, the recalcitrance of lignocellulose was destructed via a cost-efficient process and all sugars in sweet sorghum stalks lignocellulose were hydrolysed into fermentable sugars. Bioconversion of fermentable sugars released from sweet sorghum bagasse into different products except ethanol, such as butanol, biogas, and chemicals was feasible to operate under low energy-consumption conditions.

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          Most cited references25

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          Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals.

          To study the potential effects of increased biofuel use, we evaluated six representative analyses of fuel ethanol. Studies that reported negative net energy incorrectly ignored coproducts and used some obsolete data. All studies indicated that current corn ethanol technologies are much less petroleum-intensive than gasoline but have greenhouse gas emissions similar to those of gasoline. However, many important environmental effects of biofuel production are poorly understood. New metrics that measure specific resource inputs are developed, but further research into environmental metrics is needed. Nonetheless, it is already clear that large-scale use of ethanol for fuel will almost certainly require cellulosic technology.
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            Biomass pretreatment: fundamentals toward application.

            Development of sustainable energy systems based on renewable biomass feedstocks is now a global effort. Lignocellulosic biomass contains polymers of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, bound together in a complex structure. Liquid biofuels, such as ethanol, can be made from biomass via fermentation of sugars derived from the cellulose and hemicellulose within lignocellulosic materials, but the biomass must be subjected to pretreatment processes to liberate the sugars needed for fermentation. Production of value-added co-products along-side biofuels through integrated biorefinery processes creates the need for selectivity during pretreatment. This paper presents a survey of biomass pretreatment technologies with emphasis on concepts, mechanism of action and practicability. The advantages and disadvantages, and the potential for industrial applications of different pretreatment technologies are the highlights of this paper. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Characterization and genomic analysis of kraft lignin biodegradation by the beta-proteobacterium Cupriavidus basilensis B-8

              Background Lignin materials are abundant and among the most important potential sources for biofuel production. Development of an efficient lignin degradation process has considerable potential for the production of a variety of chemicals, including bioethanol. However, lignin degradation using current methods is inefficient. Given their immense environmental adaptability and biochemical versatility, bacterial could be used as a valuable tool for the rapid degradation of lignin. Kraft lignin (KL) is a polymer by-product of the pulp and paper industry resulting from alkaline sulfide treatment of lignocellulose, and it has been widely used for lignin-related studies. Results Beta-proteobacterium Cupriavidus basilensis B-8 isolated from erosive bamboo slips displayed substantial KL degradation capability. With initial concentrations of 0.5–6 g L-1, at least 31.3% KL could be degraded in 7 days. The maximum degradation rate was 44.4% at the initial concentration of 2 g L-1. The optimum pH and temperature for KL degradation were 7.0 and 30°C, respectively. Manganese peroxidase (MnP) and laccase (Lac) demonstrated their greatest level of activity, 1685.3 U L-1 and 815.6 U L-1, at the third and fourth days, respectively. Many small molecule intermediates were formed during the process of KL degradation, as determined using GC-MS analysis. In order to perform metabolic reconstruction of lignin degradation in this bacterium, a draft genome sequence for C. basilensis B-8 was generated. Genomic analysis focused on the catabolic potential of this bacterium against several lignin-derived compounds. These analyses together with sequence comparisons predicted the existence of three major metabolic pathways: β-ketoadipate, phenol degradation, and gentisate pathways. Conclusion These results confirmed the capability of C. basilensis B-8 to promote KL degradation. Whole genomic sequencing and systematic analysis of the C. basilensis B-8 genome identified degradation steps and intermediates from this bacterial-mediated KL degradation method. Our findings provide a theoretical basis for research into the mechanisms of lignin degradation as well as a practical basis for biofuel production using lignin materials.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Biotechnol Biofuels
                Biotechnol Biofuels
                Biotechnology for Biofuels
                BioMed Central
                1754-6834
                2013
                29 November 2013
                : 6
                : 174
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Beijing Engineering Research Center of Biofuels, MOST-USDA joint research center for biofuels, Beijing 100084, People’s Republic of China
                Article
                1754-6834-6-174
                10.1186/1754-6834-6-174
                4177127
                24286508
                fb18e6fb-81db-4947-a81e-d8e3c18a00f8
                Copyright © 2013 Li et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 21 June 2013
                : 22 October 2013
                Categories
                Research

                Biotechnology
                sweet sorghum stalks,alkaline pretreatment,solid-state fermentation,bioethanol
                Biotechnology
                sweet sorghum stalks, alkaline pretreatment, solid-state fermentation, bioethanol

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