Submitted to: Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2003
Publication Date: 5/1/2003
Citation: SAHA, B.C. HEMICELLULOSE BIOCONVERSION. JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY. 2003. V. 30. P. 279-291. Interpretive Summary: Hemicellulose, the second most renewable biomass polymer next to cellulose, represents about 20-35% of biomass. It can be converted to a number of value-added fermentation products such as fuel ethanol, xylitol, butanediol, and lactic acid. For this, the polymer needs to be converted to sugars. This paper reviews the structure of hemicellulose, various pretreatment options, polymer breakdown to sugars by using enzymes, and production of fuel ethanol, xylitol, and butanediol from sugars derived from hemicellulose. The article is of great value to all academic, industrial, and government scientists who are working or planning to work on renewable resource oriented biotechnology.
Technical Abstract: Various agricultural residues such as corn fiber, corn stover, wheat straw, rice straw, and sugarcane bagasse contain about 20-40% hemicellulose, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature. The conversion of hemicellulose to fuels and chemicals is problematic. In this paper, various pretreatment options as well as enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars is reviewed. Our research, dealing with the pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification of corn fiber and development of novel and improved enzymes such as endo-xylanase, beta-xylosidase, and alpha-L-arabinofuranosidase for hemicellulose bioconversion, are described. The barriers, progress, and prospects of developing an environmentally benign bioprocess for large-scale conversion of hemicellulose to fuel ethanol, xylitol, 2,3-butanediol, and other value-added fermentation products are highlighted.