Overcoming Biomass Recalcitrance by Combining Genetically Modified Switchgrass and Cellulose Solvent-Based Lignocellulose Pretreatment
Zhang, Y. H. Percival
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Decreasing lignin content of plant biomass by genetic engineering is believed to mitigate biomass recalcitrance and improve saccharification efficiency of plant biomass. In this study, we compared two different pretreatment methods (i.e., dilute acid and cellulose solvent) on transgenic plant biomass samples having different lignin contents and investigated biomass saccharification efficiency. Without pretreatment, no correlation was observed between lignin contents of plant biomass and saccharification efficiency. After dilute acid pretreatment, a strong negative correlation between lignin content of plant samples and overall glucose release was observed, wherein the highest overall enzymatic glucan digestibility was 70% for the low-lignin sample. After cellulose solvent- and organic solvent-based lignocellulose fractionation pretreatment, there was no strong correlation between lignin contents and high saccharification efficiencies obtained (i.e., 80-90%). These results suggest that the importance of decreasing lignin content in plant biomass to saccharification was largely dependent on pretreatment choice and conditions.