Mechanical pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass toward enzymatic/fermentative valorization

iScience. 2022 Jun 16;25(7):104610. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104610. eCollection 2022 Jul 15.

ABSTRACT

Lignocellulosic biomass (LCB) has the potential to replace fossil fuels, thanks to the concept of biorefinery. This material is formed mainly by cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose. To maximize the valorization potential of this material, LCB needs to be pretreated. Milling is always performed before any other treatments. It does not produce chemical change and improves the efficiency of the upcoming processes. Additionally, it makes LCB easier to handle and increases bulk density and transfer phenomena of the next pretreatment step. However, this treatment is energy consuming, so it needs to be optimized. Several mills can be used, and the equipment selection depends on the characteristics of the material, the final size required, and the operational regime: continuous or batch. Among them, ball, knife, and hammer mills are the most used at the laboratory scale, especially before enzymatic or fermentative treatments. The continuous operational regime (knife and hammer mill) allows us to work with high volumes of raw material and can continuously reduce particle size, unlike the batch operating regime (ball mill). This review recollects the information about the application of these machines, the effect on particle size, and subsequent treatments. On the one hand, ball milling reduced particle size the most; on the other hand, hammer and knife milling consumed less energy. Furthermore, the latter reached a small final particle size (units of millimeters) suitable for valorization.

PMID:35789853 | PMC:PMC9250023 | DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2022.104610

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