© The Authors Global Change Biology Bioenergy Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Edited By: Steve Long
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ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 1/81 (Agronomy); 11/89 (Energy & Fuels)
Online ISSN: 1757-1707
Associated Title(s): Global Change Biology
A new direction for H2 production
Lignocellulosic biomass is an attractive candidate for bioenergy production because of its abundance and because its use does not compete with food production. However, no economical solution has been found for its conversion to biofuel. This is because of the high cost of the enzymes used to convert the cellulose and hemicellulose to sugars (i.e. saccharification) after they are released from the lignin.
Zhao and coauthors evaluated the enzymatic saccharification of cornstalk and optimized the process for maximum sugar production from which to produce biohydrogen. They chose hydrogen production because hydrogen has emerged as a promising energy carrier which is not only environmentally friendly and renewable, but also has a high calorific value and is efficient and clean.
The authors first pretreated cornstalks to release the cellulose and hemicellulose. They then extracted the sugars with enzymes from fungus while varying temperature, pH, cellulases and substrate concentrations to optimize the sugar yield. Then the cornstalk sugars were fermented by bacteria to verify its potential as substrate for biohydrogen production.
The optimization increased sugar yield by 21%. These results demonstrate that using the enzymes from fungus to saccharify cornstalk under optimized conditions and integrated with hydrogen production is an economical feasible and efficient process of converting lignocellulose to hydrogen.
Zhao, L., Cao, G.-L., Wang, A.-J., Ren, H.-Y., Xu, C.-J. and Ren, N.-Q. (2013), Enzymatic saccharification of cornstalk by onsite cellulases produced by Trichoderma viride for enhanced biohydrogen production. GCB Bioenergy, 5: 591–598. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12022