One of the major bottlenecks in the bioconversion of lignocelluosic feedstocks to liquid ethanol is the recalcitrance of residue following pretreatment, specifically softwood derived residues. Peroxide delignification has previously been shown to effectively aid in the removal of condensed lignaceous moieties from substrates following pretreatment, and thereby improve the hydrolyzability of the polymeric carbohydrates to their monomeric constituents. Despite the effectiveness of peroxide, drawbacks in this system still remain, as the concentration of peroxide required for adequate hydrolysis performance is currently uneconomical. In an attempt to improve the efficacy of the delignification process, we evaluated other post-treatment operations and concurrently attempted to limit the decomposition of peroxide loading; with the over arching aim to improve the efficiency of the bioconversion process. By employing several peroxide stabilizers and pre-chelating the steam exploded recalcitrant substrates, we were able to substantially improve the delignification treatment of Douglas-fir wood chips, and to reduce peroxide loading by more than 50% without negative effects on the hydrolysis rates and yield. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;106: 884–893. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.