Biofuel production from straw hydrolysates: current achievements and perspectives.


Department of Molecular Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7015, SE-75007, Uppsala, Sweden. [Email]


Straw is an agricultural residue of the production of e.g. cereals, rapeseed or sunflowers. It includes dried stalks, leaves, and empty ears and corncobs, which are separated from the grains during harvest. Straw is a promising lignocellulosic feedstock with a beneficial greenhouse gas balance for the production of biofuels and chemicals. Like all lignocellulosic materials, straw is recalcitrant and requires thermochemical and enzymatic pretreatment to enable access to the three major biopolymers of straw-the polysaccharides cellulose and hemicellulose and the polyaromatic compound lignin. Straw is used for commercial ethanol and biogas production. Considerable research has also been conducted to produce biobutanol, biodiesel and biochemicals from this raw material, but more research is required to establish them on a commercial scale. The major hindrance for launching industrial biofuel and chemicals' production from straw is the high cost necessitated by pretreatment of the material. Improvements of microbial strains, production and extraction technologies, as well as co-production of high-value compounds represent ways of establishing straw as feedstock for the production of biofuels, chemicals and food.


Biofuels,Enzymes,Lignocellulose,Microbial conversion,Straw,