Pretreating Luffa Sponge (Luffa cylindrica L.) with Concentrated Phosphoric Acid and Subsequent Enzymatic Saccharification

Qing Wang, Fei Shen, Gang Yang, Yanzong Zhang, Shihuai Deng, Yaodong Hu, Jing Zhang, Chun Song, Yongmei Zeng


Luffa was evaluated as a potential energy crop. A considerable amount of luffa sponge biomass can be grown in a vertical direction with approximately 70% polysaccharide content and low lignin content. When concentrated H3PO4 was employed to pretreat luffa sponge, hemicelluloses were the most sensitive component, followed by cellulose and lignin. Hemicellulose solubilization and cellulose loss positively responded to the elevated temperature, time, H3PO4 concentration, and dosage for pretreatment. However, lignin solubilization was not affected greatly. Although the initial hydrolysis rate was accelerated by increasing pretreatment temperature, the final glucose conversion was reduced as temperature was raised higher than 50 °C. Prolonging pretreatment time was positively correlated to enzymatic digestibility. When H3PO4 concentration was lower than 80%, the final glucose conversion was increased with increasing H3PO4 concentration. Increasing H3PO4 concentration to 84% for pretreatment caused the final glucose conversion to decrease slightly, although the hydrolysis rate was initially accelerated. Additionally, an improvement of glucose conversion was obtained with increasing the substrate-to-phosphoric acid ratio. However, the improvement was not cost-effective, as the ratio was lower than 1-to-8.


Luffa sponge; Concentrated phosphoric acid; Pretreatment; Enzymatic hydrolysis

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