Surfactant-Aided Phosphoric Acid Pretreatment to Enable Efficient Bioethanol Production from Glycyrrhiza Glabra Residue

Document Type: Research Article

Author

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, P. O. Box: 81746-73441, Isfahan, Iran

Abstract

Glycyrrhiza glabra residue (GGR) was efficiently subjected to concentrated phosphoric acid (PA) pretreatment with/without surfactant assistance, and promising results were obtained following separate enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) of the biomass. Pretreatment was carried out using 85 % PA either at 50 or 85 °C with 12.5 % solid loading for 30 min. In parallel experiments, the intact GGR was impregnated in 2 % (w/w) surfactant (Polyethylene glycol) aqueous solution prior to the PA pretreatment. Consequently, the pretreated materials were subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis (50 °C, 72 h) using 25 FPU/g cellulase, and the most digestible biomass was nominated for conversion to bioethanol. Substantial improvement in digestibility of GGR (~92 % hydrolysis yield) was observed following surfactant-assisted PA pretreatment, whereas digestibility yield from the untreated biomass was only 16.1 %. Consequently, the ethanol production form GGR was significantly enhanced by 19.7-fold through separate hydrolysis and fermentation of biomass. Different analytical approaches including water retention value, Simons’ staining, and crystallinity together with FESEM imaging revealed that the improved surface hydrophilicity, increased substrate accessibility to enzyme, and decreased crystallinity could be the major effects of PA pretreatment, leading to higher susceptibility of GGR to enzymatic hydrolysis and subsequent ethanol production.

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