Ammonia-Ethanol-Water Pretreatment of Wheat Straw for Facilitating Enzymatic Saccharification Integrated with the Preparation of Submicron Lignin Spheres

Xihui Zhang, Guang Yu, Xiaoyan Feng, Zhenqiu Li, Bin Li, Qiu Cui


Ammonia-ethanol-water (AEW) pretreatment was adopted to treat wheat straw for ameliorating saccharification with the integrated preparation of submicron lignin spheres (SLS). Results showed that AEW pretreatment could remove 77% of lignin and 90% of extractives, thus increasing specific surface area and porosity of the substrate and finally enhancing the release of fermentable sugars in saccharification. Under the optimal pretreatment conditions (170 °C for 2 h, ethanol concentration 55% (v/v), ammonia concentration 7.5 wt%), the final total sugar yield reached 81.7% after pretreatment and saccharification, which was 2.25 times higher compared to the conventional ethanol organosolv pretreatment. Moreover, washing could be excluded for AEW-pretreated wheat straw before saccharification, and both ethanol and ammonia could be readily recovered and reused, making the AEW pretreatment clean and sustainable. In addition, SLS with hollow structure and average diameter of 161.2 ± 53.6 nm were fabricated using the fractionated lignin, which could offset the overall cost of AEW pretreatment.


Ammonia-ethanol-water pretreatment; Enzymatic saccharification; Wheat straw; Submicron lignin spheres; Biorefinery

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