Microwave Pretreatments of Switchgrass Leaf and Stem Fractions to Increase Methane Production

Chunhui Wu, He Zhou, Fuyu Yang, Yunwei Zhang, Fengqin Gao


The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of microwave pretreatments on methane production from two switchgrass tissues (leaf vs. stem). The methane production from the leaf fraction was significantly affected by the microwave final temperature, while production from the stem fraction was affected by the combination of the microwave final temperature and heating rate. Thus, the highest methane yield from the leaf (134.81 mL CH4/g of volatile solids (VS)) was obtained at 100 °C, while the highest yield from the stem (99.35 mL CH4/g VS) was obtained at 150 °C, with a heating rate of 10 °C/min. Although methane production from the leaf fraction was merely enhanced by 9.1% after microwave pretreatments, the time required to reach 80% of ultimate methane production was reduced by 12 days. For the stem fraction, methane production was improved by 5.2% after microwave pretreatment, and the time to obtain 80% of ultimate methane production increased.


Switchgrass; Lignocellulose; Microwave pretreatment; Anaerobic digestion

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