Enzymatic hydrolysis of chemithermomechanically pretreated sugarcane bagasse and samples with reduced initial lignin content



Chemithermomechanical (CTM) processing was used to pretreat sugarcane bagasse with the aim of increasing cell wall accessibility to hydrolytic enzymes. Yields of the pretreated samples were in the range of 75–94%. Disk refining and alkaline-CTM and alkaline/sulfite-CTM pretreatments yielded pretreated materials with 21.7, 17.8, and 15.3% of lignin, respectively. Hemicellulose content was also decreased to some extent. Fibers of the pretreated materials presented some external fibrillation, fiber curling, increased swelling, and high water retention capacity. Cellulose conversion of the alkaline-CTM- and alkaline/sulfite-CTM-pretreated samples reached 50 and 85%, respectively, after 96 h of enzymatic hydrolysis. Two samples with low initial lignin content were also evaluated after the mildest alkaline-CTM pretreatment. One sample was a partially delignified mill-processed bagasse. The other was a sugarcane hybrid selected in a breeding program. Samples with lower initial lignin content were hydrolyzed considerably faster in the first 24 h of enzymatic digestion. For example, enzymatic hydrolysis of the sample with the lowest initial lignin content (14.2%) reached 64% cellulose conversion after only 24 h of hydrolysis when compared with the 30% observed for the mill-processed bagasse containing an initial lignin content of 24.4%. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011