Sugarcane bagasse, the solid residue left after extraction of sugarcane juice, is one of the major lignocellulosic plant residues. With its high cellulosic polysaccharide content, it is considered as a potential source for ethanol production. However, the use of bagasse as feedstock for biorefinery is limited because of its chemical structure which is recalcitrant to enzymatic hydrolysis unless it is pretreated to a more accessible form. With this limitation, BIOTEC research team developed an integrated process combining mechanical pretreatment by ball milling, with enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation using local yeast strains and enzyme-producing microorganisms from BIOTEC Culture Collection. The enzymatic hydrolysis stage utilizes an enzyme cocktail made up of crude enzymes prepared from Penicillium chrysogenum BCC4504 (containing cellulase activity) and Aspergillus flavus BCC7179 (containing complementary β-glucosidase activity); whilst the fermentation step uses Pichia stipitis. The lab scale result of the experiment is reported in the paper titled “Bioethanol production from ball milled bagasse using an on-site produced fungal enzyme cocktail and xylose-fermenting Pichia stipitis" published in the #Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 110, 18-25 (2010)#. This study demonstrated the potential use of a simple integrated process with minimal environmental impact with the use of promising alternative on-site enzymes and yeast for the production of ethanol from this potent lignocellulosic biomass.
Posted on 4 November 2010.