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Exploitation of Wheat Straw Biorefinery Side Streams as Sustainable Substrates for Microorganisms: A Feasibility Study

Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Bioscience Engineering, TU Wien, Vienna 1060, Austria
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Processes 2019, 7(12), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7120956
Received: 6 November 2019 / Revised: 5 December 2019 / Accepted: 7 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalytic Biomass Fractionation)
Lignocellulosic agricultural side products, like wheat straw, are widely seen as an important contribution to a future sustainable economy. However, optimization of biorefinery processes and exploitation of all side streams are crucial for an economically viable biorefinery. Pretreatment of lignocellulosic raw material, which is necessary for further processing steps, can generate low-value side streams. In this feasibility study, side streams from a liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment of wheat straw were utilized for the production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and highly valuable tetraether lipids (TELs). Additional value created by these products can benefit the biorefinery’s economic operation. The utilized wheat straw was pretreated at 120 °C and 170 °C for up to two hours in laboratory and lab scale. The resulting side stream consists mainly of carbohydrates from hemicelluloses and fermentation inhibitors such as acetic acid. In order to achieve a successful production of both products, an acetic acid separation via distillation was necessary. Subsequently, the acetic acid fraction was utilized for the PHB production using cyanobacteria. The carbohydrate-rich fraction was applied in the cultivation of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and resulted in the successful production of TELs. Both fractions achieved better fermentation yields compared to their corresponding reference media. View Full-Text
Keywords: lignocellulose; biorefinery; liquid hot water; side streams; carbohydrates; acetic acid; polyhydroxybutyrate; lipids; tetraether lignocellulose; biorefinery; liquid hot water; side streams; carbohydrates; acetic acid; polyhydroxybutyrate; lipids; tetraether
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Beisl, S.; Quehenberger, J.; Kamravamanesh, D.; Spadiut, O.; Friedl, A. Exploitation of Wheat Straw Biorefinery Side Streams as Sustainable Substrates for Microorganisms: A Feasibility Study. Processes 2019, 7, 956.

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