The Improvement of Sugar and Bioethanol Production of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches (Elaeis guineensis Jacq) through Microwave-Assisted Maleic Acid Pretreatment

Widya Fatriasari, Rika Raniya, Maulida Oktaviani, Euis Hermiati


Microwave assisted maleic acid (MA) pretreatment is a potential method for biomass processing. The aim of the present study was to determine the optimum conditions for pretreatment of oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) for bioethanol production, as well as to understand the changes of functional groups in the pretreated OPEFB. The optimum pretreatment conditions with the highest reducing sugar yield (RSY) (47.21%) were 190 °C for 2.5 min with 1% MA. The temperature had more influence on the chemical components and RSY than the other pretreatment parameters. More severe pretreatment conditions tended to dissolve more sugar into the hydrolysates. Structural changes occurred in the OPEFB pretreated with MA and sulfuric acid, which were observed by the absence of certain functional groups. The simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of MA-pretreated OPEFB produced ethanol with a concentration of 18.9 g/L and yield of 0.43 g ethanol/g cellulose after pretreatment, or equivalent to 76.6% of theoretical maximum yield. Microwave assisted MA pretreatment of OPEFB successfully increased the RSY about 300% compared to the untreated one. The MA pretreatment removed hemicellulose and lignin. The highest ethanol concentration and yield were produced after 48 h of SSF of the OPEFB pretreated with MA.


Maleic acid; Microwave heating; Oil palm empty fruit bunch; Reducing sugar yield; Bioethanol production

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