Biotechnology Division, Central Pulp & Paper Research Institute, Saharanpur (UP) India
Lignocellulosic biomass is unique among the entire renewable energy spectrum as it is the only source of carbon that can be converted into convenient solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. The technologies for biofuels and bioenergy are developing rapidly and are fast becoming an important business area. Rice straw is a by-product of rice production and is a great bio-resource. However a huge quantity of the rice straws is not used and burnt in the open fields causing air pollution problem. It is one of the abundant lignocellulosic waste materials available worldwide, which were evaluated for the production of xylose, which can be used as a raw material and converted to high value added products such as furfural, xylitol and microbial cell growth. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of H2SO4 concentration, temperature and retention time on the production of sugars in the form of xylose. The process conditions were optimized in respect of conc. of sulphuric acid, temperature and retention time. The pretreatment of biomass with H2SO4 (0.5% v/v) at 140oC for 90 minutes were found to be optimum. These optimized process conditions for hydrolysis of rice straw resulted 80-95% recovery of pentose sugar in aqueous fraction consisting of xylose as major constituent. The xylose thus produced could be utilized as source of value added products with form of furfurals and xylitol etc.
Keywords: Rice straw, Chemical Characterization, Xylose, Dilute acid hydrolysis.