Transformation of Starchy Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol using Ragi Tapai Synergized with Microwave Irradiation Pretreatment

Kok Cheang Diong, Gek Cheng Ngoh, Adeline Seak May Chua


Ethanol production strategy was studied using multiple strain microbes from microwave irradiation (MI) pretreated sago waste. Sago waste (SW) was MI-pretreated for reducing sugars production using 2 heating media (water and sulfuric acid) under pretreatment conditions including MI power, pretreatment duration, and solid loading. When water was used, the pretreatment parameters were optimized using Box-Behnken Design (BBD). However, gelatinized starch and charring of SW led to an insignificant quadratic model. To mitigate the gelatinization problem while determining the best MI pretreatment conditions, water was substituted by sulfuric acid using single factor method. The highest reducing sugar yield of 261.5 mg/g SW was achieved at 7.5% solid loading, 6 min pretreatment duration, and 300 W MI power. The effectiveness of the pretreatment was ascertained by field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and chemical-composition analysis. When fermenting MI-pretreated SW using ragi tapai, simultaneous saccharification of starch and ethanol production was evidenced from the sugar/ethanol profile. A resulted yield of 7.24 g ethanol/100 g SW confirmed the fermentability of MI-pretreated SW. The ethanol production was well fitted into the modified Gompertz model.


Gelatinization of starch; Starchy lignocellulosic biomass; Ethanol; Ragi tapai; Modified Gompertz model

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