Ethanol Production from NaOH Pretreated Rice Straw: a Cost Effective Option to Manage Rice Crop Residue
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Rice straw, an abundant agro-residue, is available for energy production. In many parts of Asian countries, it is burnt on fields causing harm to the environment. Rice straw contains lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses, and silicates making it recalcitrant. Pretreatment processes disintegrate lignin-carbohydrate matrix for efficient bioconversion of polysaccharides to fermentable sugars. A good number of physical, biological and chemical processes have been tried but degradation of polysaccharides and subsequent fermentation is still a challenge. Alkaline pretreatment causes effective delignification and swelling of biomass. The present study was performed on alkaline pretreatment of rice straw with 1% NaOH by autoclaving for 30 min at 121 °C at 10% solid loading. It was extracted with water to remove lignins, solids separated by filtrations and washed again to neutralize the pH. Water washing also led to removal of phenolic inhibitors. High (63%) glucan enrichment was obtained with concomitant lignin loss. Dry matter loss was around 50%. Enzymatic saccharification of the pretreated solids at 5 and 10% with Accellerase® 1500 for 24 h at 50 °C gave saccharification efficiency 76 and ~ 50% respectively. Hydrolysates containing 18 and 23 gL−1 sugars, supplemented with minimal salts, yeast extract, fermented by S. cerevisiae LN for 24 h yielded ~ 2 and 4 gL−1 ethanol with fermentation efficiency 55–66%. Thus, NaOH pretreatment is a cost effective option for ethanol production from rice straw. Lignin removed in prehydrolysates can be recovered by acidification.
KeywordsRice straw management Alkaline pretreatment Fermentation Bioethanol Biomass hydrolysate
This work was supported by the Application of Microorganisms in Agriculture and Allied Sectors (AMAAS), India, (Grant No. 12-124). Authors are thankful to Director, IARI for providing infrastructural facilities for carrying out this work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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