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Open Access Research

Treatment of rice straw hemicellulosic hydrolysates with advanced oxidative processes: a new and promising detoxification method to improve the bioconversion process

João Paulo Alves Silva, Livia Melo Carneiro and Inês Conceição Roberto*

Author Affiliations

Deparatmento de Biotecnologia, Escola de Engenharia de Lorena, Universidade de São Paulo, Estrada Municipal do Campinho s/n, Cep, 12602-810, Lorena, SP, Brazil

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Biotechnology for Biofuels 2013, 6:23  doi:10.1186/1754-6834-6-23

Published: 15 February 2013

Abstract

Background

The use of lignocellulosic constituents in biotechnological processes requires a selective separation of the main fractions (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin). During diluted acid hydrolysis for hemicellulose extraction, several toxic compounds are formed by the degradation of sugars and lignin, which have ability to inhibit microbial metabolism. Thus, the use of a detoxification step represents an important aspect to be considered for the improvement of fermentation processes from hydrolysates. In this paper, we evaluated the application of Advanced Oxidative Processes (AOPs) for the detoxification of rice straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate with the goal of improving ethanol bioproduction by Pichia stipitis yeast. Aiming to reduce the toxicity of the hemicellulosic hydrolysate, different treatment conditions were analyzed. The treatments were carried out according to a Taguchi L16 orthogonal array to evaluate the influence of Fe+2, H2O2, UV, O3 and pH on the concentration of aromatic compounds and the fermentative process.

Results

The results showed that the AOPs were able to remove aromatic compounds (furan and phenolic compounds derived from lignin) without affecting the sugar concentration in the hydrolysate. Ozonation in alkaline medium (pH 8) in the presence of H2O2 (treatment A3) or UV radiation (treatment A5) were the most effective for hydrolysate detoxification and had a positive effect on increasing the yeast fermentability of rice straw hemicellulose hydrolysate. Under these conditions, the higher removal of total phenols (above 40%), low molecular weight phenolic compounds (above 95%) and furans (above 52%) were observed. In addition, the ethanol volumetric productivity by P. stipitis was increased in approximately twice in relation the untreated hydrolysate.

Conclusion

These results demonstrate that AOPs are a promising methods to reduce toxicity and improve the fermentability of lignocellulosic hydrolysates.

Keywords:
Ethanol; Pichia stipitis; Rice straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate; Advanced oxidative processes; Detoxification