Effect of varying feedstock-pretreatment chemistry combinations on the production of potentially inhibitory degradation products in biomass hydrolysates.
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A variety of inhibitory degradation products are produced during pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Production and release of these degradation products is highly affected by the pH and redox potential of pretreatment reactions. Qualitative and quantitative interrogation of hydrolysates is paramount to identifying potential correlations between pretreatment chemistries and microbial inhibition in downstream bioconversion processes. In the present study, corn stover, poplar, and pine wood were pretreated under eight different chemical conditions, which are representative of leading pretreatment processes that have been investigated in recent years. Pretreatment processes included: 0.7% H2SO4, 0.07% H2SO4, liquid hot water, wet oxidation, neutral buffer solution, aqueous ammonia, lime, and oxidative lime. Forty lignocellulosic degradation products resulting from pretreatment were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) and ion chromatography (IC) in order to determine correlations between concentrations of inhibitory degradation products and pretreatment chemistry.