New biotechnology

Steam explosion pretreatment of triticale (× Triticosecale Wittmack) straw for sugar production.

PMID 26477303


Triticale, a non-food based, low-cost and well-adapted crop in marginal lands has been considered as a potential 1G and 2G feedstock for bio-ethanol production. In this work, triticale straw was evaluated as a source of fermentable sugars by combination of uncatalyzed steam explosion and enzymatic hydrolysis. Pretreatment conditions with severities from 3.05 to 4.12 were compared in order to identify conditions that favour the recovery of hemicellulose-derived sugars, cellulose digestibility or the combined sugars yield (CSY) from the pretreatment-enzymatic hydrolysis. Xylose oligosaccharide was the major sugar in hydrolysates from all pretreatment conditions. Maximum hemicellulose-sugars recovery (52% of the feedstock content) was obtained at 200 °C and 5 min. The highest cellulose digestibility (95%) was found at 200 °C - 15 min, although glucose recovery from hydrolysis was maximised at 200 °C - 10 min (digestibility >92%) due to higher mass yield of pretreated solids. The maximum CSY (nearly 77% of theoretical content) was obtained at 200 °C - 5 min. Sugar loss after pretreatment was observed to higher extent at harsher severities. However, the concentrations of sugar degradation products and acetic acid were at levels below tolerance limits of the downstream biological conversions. Steam explosion pretreatment without acid impregnation is a good technology for production of fermentable sugars from triticale straw. This work provides foundation for future autohydrolysis steam explosion optimization studies to enhanced sugars recovery and digestibility of triticale straw.