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Bioengineering 2017, 4(2), 25; doi:10.3390/bioengineering4020025

Microwave-Assisted Alkali Pre-Treatment, Densification and Enzymatic Saccharification of Canola Straw and Oat Hull

1
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, 57 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A9, Canada
2
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research Centre, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 19 March 2017 / Published: 26 March 2017
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Abstract

The effects of microwave-assisted alkali pre-treatment on pellets’ characteristics and enzymatic saccharification for bioethanol production using lignocellulosic biomass of canola straw and oat hull were investigated. The ground canola straw and oat hull were immersed in distilled water, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide solutions at two concentrations (0.75% and 1.5% w/v) and exposed to microwave radiation at power level 713 W and three residence times (6, 12 and 18 min). Bulk and particle densities of ground biomass samples were determined. Alkaline-microwave pre-treated and untreated samples were subjected to single pelleting test in an Instron universal machine, pre-set to a load of 4000 N. The measured parameters, pellet density, tensile strength and dimensional stability were evaluated and the results showed that the microwave-assisted alkali pre-treated pellets had a significantly higher density and tensile strength compared to samples that were untreated or pre-treated by microwave alone. The chemical composition analysis showed that microwave-assisted alkali pre-treatment was able to disrupt and break down the lignocellulosic structure of the samples, creating an area of cellulose accessible to cellulase reactivity. The best enzymatic saccharification results gave a high glucose yield of 110.05 mg/g dry sample for canola straw ground in a 1.6 mm screen hammer mill and pre-treated with 1.5% NaOH for 18 min, and a 99.10 mg/g dry sample for oat hull ground in a 1.6 mm screen hammer mill and pre-treated with 0.75% NaOH for 18 min microwave-assisted alkali pre-treatments. The effects of pre-treatment results were supported by SEM analysis. Overall, it was found that microwave-assisted alkali pre-treatment of canola straw and oat hull at a short residence time enhanced glucose yield. View Full-Text
Keywords: pellet; microwave pre-treatment; biomass; tensile strength; dimensional stability; pellet density; glucose yield pellet; microwave pre-treatment; biomass; tensile strength; dimensional stability; pellet density; glucose yield
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Agu, O.S.; Tabil, L.G.; Dumonceaux, T. Microwave-Assisted Alkali Pre-Treatment, Densification and Enzymatic Saccharification of Canola Straw and Oat Hull. Bioengineering 2017, 4, 25.

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