Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass Using Supercritical Fluids
Kripa K. Rao1, Sasidhar Varanasi2, Constance A. Schall2, and Dong Shik Kim2. (1) Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Toledo, 2805 Bancroft Street, 3048 Nitschke Hall, Toledo, OH 43606, (2) Chemical & Environmental Engineering, University of Toledo, 2805 Bancroft Street, 3048 Nitschke Hall, Toledo, OH 43606
Polysaccharide hydrolysis is an essential step needed in the utilization of biomass to fulfill the fuel requirements in the coming years. There is a need to utilize high quantities lignocellulosic biomass originating from food and beverage industrial process waste streams. This would enable these wastes to be converted into value-added products instead of being used as landfills or animal feed. We have studied two different substrates namely: spent grains from brewing process and a well-characterized switch grass. An environmentally benign method to render the polysaccharides accessible to the enzymatic hydrolysis without the interference of other components of lignocellulose was needed. Supercritical fluids have been widely applied to a variety of industrial uses as solvents and reaction media due to their unique physical properties. In this paper we have attempted to pre-treat the biomass with two different fluids under supercritical conditions (water and Carbon dioxide) and compared the extent of hydrolysis when used alone and in conjunction with each other. The subsequent ease of enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass following pretreatment with supercritical fluids will also be addressed.