Comparative material balances around pretreatment technologies for the conversion of switchgrass to soluble sugars Academic Article uri icon


  • For this project, six chemical pretreatments were compared for the Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation (CAFI): ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX), dilute sulfuric acid (DA), lime, liquid hot water (LHW), soaking in aqueous ammonia (SAA), and sulfur dioxide (SO(2)). For each pretreatment, a material balance was analyzed around the pretreatment, optional post-washing step, and enzymatic hydrolysis of Dacotah switchgrass. All pretreatments+enzymatic hydrolysis solubilized over two-thirds of the available glucan and xylan. Lime, post-washed LHW, and SO(2) achieved >83% total glucose yields. Lime, post-washed AFEX, and DA achieved >83% total xylose yields. Alkaline pretreatments, except AFEX, solubilized the most lignin and a portion of the xylan as xylo-oligomers. As pretreatment pH decreased, total solubilized xylan and released monomeric xylose increased. Low temperature-long time or high temperature-short time pretreatments are necessary for high glucose release from late-harvest Dacotah switchgrass but high temperatures may cause xylose degradation.

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Garlock, R. J., Balan, V., Dale, B. E., Pallapolu, V. R., Lee, Y. Y., Kim, Y., ... Warner, R. E.

citation count

  • 90

publication date

  • April 2011