BACKGROUND: Olive stones were pretreated with liquid hot water (LHW or autohydrolysis) at maximum temperatures between 175 and 225 °C (severity factors, logR0, between 2.73 and 4.39) to be subjected (both liquid and solid components) afterwards to enzymatic hydrolysis with cellulases from Trichoderma viride. Ethanol fermentation of hydrolysates was performed with the non-traditional yeast Pachysolen tannophilus ATCC 32691.
RESULTS: After the enzymatic step, yields of hemicellulose solubilization reached 100%, while the cellulose was only partially hydrolysed (23%, logR0 = 4.39). The maximum yields in total reducing sugars and acetic acid, at the upper end of the severity range, was close to 0.25 and 0.04 g g−1 dry stone, respectively. During the fermentation stage, the increase in R0 reduced the maximum specific growth rate, biomass productivity, and overall biomass yield. The overall yields of ethanol and xylitol ranged, respectively, from 0.18 to 0.25 g g−1 and from 0.01 to 0.13 g g−1.
CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate the possibility of producing ethanol from olive stones, making use of the cellulose and hemicellulose fraction of the waste. It was confirmed that the overall yield in xylitol strongly depended on severity factor, while the overall yield in ethanol remained practically constant for all the pretreatment conditions tested. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry