Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass is a critical step in removing substrate-specific barriers to the cellulolytic enzyme attack. The study compared the effectiveness of microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment and alkali treatment in the enzymatic saccharification of canola straw and oat hull. Microwave pretreatments were employed by immersing the biomass in dilute alkali solutions (NaOH and KOH) at concentrations of 0, 0.75, and 1.5% (w/v) for microwave-assisted heating times of 6, 12, and 18 min. Alkali treatments were carried out using the same procedure but by soaking and without microwave heating. The highest glucose yields after enzymatic saccharification of both canola straw and oat hull were obtained when these feedstocks were ground using 1.6 mm hammer mill screen size and subjected to microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment using 1.5% and 0.75% NaOH for 18 min, respectively. SEM analysis indicated a more significant modification in the structure of biomass samples subjected to microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment compared to untreated and alkali-treated biomass samples. Results indicated that microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment with short residence time is effective in improving the glucose yield of canola straw and oat hull during enzymatic saccharification.
Part of the book: Alkaline Chemistry and Applications