Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 9;13(1):446. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-27258-9.
Application of cost-effective pretreatment of wheat straw is an important stage for massive bioethanol production. A new approach is aimed to enhance the pretreatment of wheat straw by using low-cost ionic liquid [TEA][HSO4] coupled with ultrasound irradiation. The pretreatment was conducted both at room temperature and at 130 °C with a high biomass loading rate of 20% and 20% wt water assisted by ultrasound at 100 W-24 kHz for 15 and 30 min. Wheat straw pretreated at 130 °C for 15 and 30 min had high delignification rates of 67.8% and 74.9%, respectively, and hemicellulose removal rates of 47.0% and 52.2%. Moreover, this pretreatment resulted in producing total reducing sugars of 24.5 and 32.1 mg/mL in enzymatic saccharification, respectively, which corresponds to saccharification yields of 67.7% and 79.8% with commercial cellulase enzyme CelluMax for 72 h. The ethanol generation rates of 38.9 and 42.0 g/L were attained for pretreated samples for 15 and 30 min, equivalent to the yields of 76.1% and 82.2% of the maximum theoretical yield following 48 h of fermentation. This demonstration provided a cheap and promising pretreatment technology in terms of efficiency and shortening the pretreatment time based on applying low-cost ionic liquid and efficient ultrasound pretreatment techniques, which facilitated the feasibility of this approach and could further develop the future of biorefinery.