Structural and chemical analysis of process residue from biochemical conversion of wheat straw (Triticum aestivum L.) to ethanol

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Biochemical conversion of lignocellulose to fermentable carbohydrates for ethanol production is now being implemented in large-scale industrial production. Applying hydrothermal pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis for the conversion process, a residue containing substantial amounts of lignin will be generated. So far little is known about the composition of this lignin residue which at present is mainly incinerated for heat and power generation and not yet converted so much into more valuable products.In this study, the structural and chemical composition of the solid and liquid fractions of lignin residue from wheat straw were analysed and processing factors discussed. Roughly 70 and 15% of the solid mass fraction consisted of lignin and ash, respectively. Residual carbohydrates mostly originated from hemicellulose in the liquid fraction and from cellulose in the solid fraction. The solid fraction also contained significant amounts of protein, which is a valuable by-product when used as animal feed or when enzymes and yeast cells are separated for process recycling. Silica was the dominant constituent in the mineral fraction and except for few fragments of lignified middle lamellae most particles in the solid fraction appeared as silica coated by lignin, hampering separation of the two components before incineration or refinement of the residue.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Pages (from-to)572-581
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ID: 97187434