• enzymatic hydrolysis;
  • fuel ethanol;
  • lodgepole pine;
  • mountain pine beetle;
  • organosolv pretreatment;
  • substrate characteristics


Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) killed by mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) (BLP) was compared with healthy lodgepole pine (HLP) for bioconversion to ethanol and high-value co-products. The BLP and HLP chips were pretreated using an ethanol organosolv process at a variety of severities. It was shown that the BLP was easier to pretreat and delignify than were the HLP chips. The resulting pretreated BLP substrate had a lower residual lignin, lower degree of polymerization of cellulose, lower cellulose crystallinity, smaller fiber size and thereby a better enzymatic hydrolysability than did the HLP substrates. However, under the same conditions, the BLP showed lower substrate yield and cellulose recovery than did the HLP, which likely resulted from the excessive hydrolysis and subsequent decomposition of the cellulose and hemicellulose during the pretreatment. The BLP wood yielded more ethanol organosolv lignin than was obtained with the HLP material. The HLP lignin had a lower molecular weight and narrower distribution than did the BLP lignin. It appears that the beetle killed LP is more receptive to organosolv pretreatment other than a slightly lower recovery of carbohydrates. Biotechnol. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2008;101: 39–48. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.