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Bioresource Technology, Vol.289, 2019
Integrated process for the coproduction of fermentable sugars and lignin adsorbents from hardwood
This work proposed an integrated process based on alkali-sulfite (AlkSul) pretreatment to coproduce fermentable sugars and lignin adsorbents from hardwood. Different from conventional liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment, this pretreatment improved cellulose accessibility through selective lignin removal and modification, resulting in significantly enhanced biomass saccharification. Over 75% of the original cellulose and hemicellulose was released and could be recovered as fermentable sugars after pretreatment and subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis. Meanwhile, lignin residues from pretreatment hydrolysate and enzymatic hydrolysate showed lead ions adsorption capacities of 156.25 and 68.49 mg/g, respectively, indicating both streams of lignin residues were favorable adsorbents for heavy metal ions. The improved adsorption capacity of lignin residues was primarily due to the lignin modification as sulfur-containing functional groups incorporation during the integrated pretreatment. Results demonstrated the integrated alkali-sulfite pretreatment improved biomass saccharification, while coproducing lignin adsorbents for wastewater treatment, which can promote the sustainability of lignocellulosic biorefinery.