Exploring the Bioethanol Production Potential of Miscanthus Cultivars

William Turner, Darren Greetham, Michal Mos, Michael Squance, Jason Kam, Chenyu Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Miscanthus is a fast‐growing perennial grass that attracts significant attention for its potential application as a feedstock for bioethanol production. This report explores the difference in the lignocellulosic composition of various Miscanthus cultivars, including Miscanthus × giganteus cultivated at the same location (mainly Lincoln, UK). It also assesses the sugar release profiles and mineral composition profiles of five Miscanthus cultivars harvested over a growing period from November 2018 to February 2019. The results showed that Miscanthus × giganteus contains approximately 45.5% cellulose, 29.2% hemicellulose and 23.8% lignin (dry weight, w/w). Other cultivars of Miscanthus also contain high quantities of carbohydrates (cellulose 41.1–46.0%, hemicellulose 24.3–32.6% and lignin 21.4–24.9%). Pre‐treatment of Miscanthus using dilute acid followed by enzymatic hydrolysis released 63.7–80.2% of the theoretical glucose content. Fermentation of a hydrolysate of Miscanthus × giganteus using Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC2592 produced 13.58 ± 1.11 g/L of ethanol from 35.13 ± 0.46 g/L of glucose, corresponding to a yield of 0.148 g/g dry weight Miscanthus biomass. Scanning electron microscopy was used to study the morphology of raw and hydrolysed Miscanthus samples, which provided visual proof of Miscanthus lignocellulose degradation in these processes. The sugar release profile showed that a consequence of Miscanthus plant growth is an increase in difficulty in releasing monosaccharides from the biomass. The potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulphur and phosphorus contents in various Miscanthus cultivars were analysed. The results revealed that these elements were slowly lost from the plants during the latter part of the growing season, for a specific cultivar, until February 2019.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9949
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number21
Early online date25 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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