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Balancing sugar recovery and inhibitor generation during energycane processing: Coupling cryogenic grinding with hydrothermal pretreatment at low temperatures

Publication Title (Publisher Name)
Bioresource Technology


Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass at high temperatures or with oxidizing chemicals generate various inhibitors that restrict the efficient bioconversion of sugars in subsequent steps. The present study systematically investigates individual and combinatorial effects of pretreatment parameters on the generation of inhibitors. A plot between pretreatment temperature and inhibitor revealed optimum pretreatment temperature for energycane bagasse i.e., 170 °C beyond which total inhibitor production increased exponentially. No inhibitor production was observed on mechanical processing i.e., disk milling/cryogenic grinding of biomass. Evaluation of response surface regression exhibited that biomass solids loading has a significant effect on inhibitor generation at higher temperatures. The concentrations of certain inhibitors such as acetic acid, furfurals, and HMF increased more than 3-folds on doubling the solids loading. Furthermore, a novel low-severity approach of low-temperature hydrothermal pretreatment coupled with cryogenic grinding for lignocellulosic biomasses has been introduced which improved sugar yields while maintaining a low inhibitor concentration.

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