The pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass is crucial for efficient subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis and ethanol fermentation. In this study, wet explosion (WEx) pretreatment was applied to cocksfoot grass and pretreatment conditions were tailored for maximizing the sugar yields using response surface methodology. The WEx process parameters studied were temperature (160–210 °C), retention time (5–20 min), and dilute sulfuric acid concentration (0.2–0.5 %). The pretreatment parameter set E, applying 210 °C for 5 min and 0.5 % dilute sulfuric acid, was found most suitable for achieving a high glucose release with low formation of by-products. Under these conditions, the cellulose and hemicellulose sugar recovery was 94 % and 70 %, respectively. The efficiency of the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose under these conditions was 91 %. On the other hand, the release of pentose sugars was higher when applying less severe pretreatment conditions C (160 °C, 5 min, 0.2 % dilute sulfuric acid). Therefore, the choice of the most suitable pretreatment conditions is depending on the main target product, i.e., hexose or pentose sugars.
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 2013, Vol 170, Issue 7