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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Bioconversion of lignocellulose: inhibitors and detoxification

Leif J Jönsson1*, Björn Alriksson2 and Nils-Olof Nilvebrant3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, Umeå SE-901 87, Sweden

2 Processum Biorefinery Initiative AB, Örnsköldsvik, SE-891 22, Sweden

3 Borregaard, Sarpsborg, 1701, Norway

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Biotechnology for Biofuels 2013, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1754-6834-6-16

Published: 28 January 2013


Bioconversion of lignocellulose by microbial fermentation is typically preceded by an acidic thermochemical pretreatment step designed to facilitate enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose. Substances formed during the pretreatment of the lignocellulosic feedstock inhibit enzymatic hydrolysis as well as microbial fermentation steps. This review focuses on inhibitors from lignocellulosic feedstocks and how conditioning of slurries and hydrolysates can be used to alleviate inhibition problems. Novel developments in the area include chemical in-situ detoxification by using reducing agents, and methods that improve the performance of both enzymatic and microbial biocatalysts.