Lignin-first biomass fractionation using a hybrid organosolv – Steam explosion pretreatment technology improves the saccharification and fermentability of spruce biomass
Journal article, 2019

For a transition to a sustainable society, fuels, chemicals, and materials should be produced from renewable resources. Lignocellulosic biomass constitutes an abundant and renewable feedstock; however, its successful application in a biorefinery requires efficient fractionation into its components; cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Here, we demonstrate that a newly established hybrid organosolv – steam explosion pretreatment can effectively fractionate spruce biomass to yield pretreated solids with high cellulose (72% w/w) and low lignin (delignification up to 79.4% w/w) content. The cellulose-rich pretreated solids present high saccharification yields (up to 61% w/w) making them ideal for subsequent bioconversion processes. Moreover, under high-gravity conditions (22% w/w) we obtained an ethanol titer of 61.7 g/L, the highest so far reported for spruce biomass. Finally, the obtained high-purity lignin is suitable for various advanced applications. In conclusion, hybrid organosolv pretreatment could offer a closed-loop biorefinery while simultaneously adding value to all biomass components.

High gravity fermentation




Organosolv explosion


Leonidas Matsakas

Luleå University of Technology

Vijayendran Raghavendran

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Olga Yakimenko

Luleå University of Technology

Gustav Persson

Chalmers, Physics, Eva Olsson Group

Eva Olsson

Chalmers, Physics, Eva Olsson Group

Ulrika Rova

Luleå University of Technology

Lisbeth Olsson

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

P. Christakopoulos

Luleå University of Technology

Bioresource Technology

0960-8524 (ISSN)

Vol. 273 521-528

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (2010-2017)

Subject Categories

Renewable Bioenergy Research

Chemical Process Engineering




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