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Chemical Free Two-Step Hydrothermal Pretreatment to Improve Sugar Yields from Energy Cane

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Energy cane is an attractive lignocellulosic feedstock for processing into biofuels and bioproducts. A low-severity two-step hydrothermal pretreatment was investigated on energy cane for the production of monomeric sugar. Pretreatment temperature and time, in addition to the effect of disk milling, were observed for the glucose and xylose yields during hydrolysis. At residence times above 5 min in case of pretreatment at 200 °C, all of the hemicellulose was observed to be solubilized. The pretreatment condition of 200 °C for 10 min with disk milling was observed to provide the highest glucose concentration of 5.4%, and 200 °C for 5 min with disk milling provided the highest xylose concentration of 2.15%. The effect of disk milling in improving the sugar concentrations during hydrolysis was significant, especially at lower pretreatment temperatures and times. Low xylose yields at higher temperatures were attributed to the formation of degradation products at increased severity.

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