Chapter 3: New Developments on Ionic Liquid-Tolerant Microorganisms Leading Toward a More Sustainable Biorefinery

Andre da Costa Lopes, Leonardo da Costa Sousa, Rafal Lukasik, Ana Morais

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The growing concerns about climate change and energy security are driving the development of bio-based technologies to produce renewable liquid fuels and chemicals. Ionic liquids (ILs) have demonstrated to be promising solvents to pretreat lignocellulosic residues, promoting efficient enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic carbohydrates into sugars, which can be further used by microorganisms to produce biofuels and other value-added chemicals. Despite their unique properties to effectively deconstruct plant cell walls, ILs show strong interactions with the pretreated biomass, and their presence is often inhibitory to cellulolytic enzymes and microorganisms. The most advanced biorefinery concepts based on IL pretreatments focus on the development of more biocompatible ILs and more robust microbial strains with higher tolerance to ILs. This chapter provides an overview and a discussion over the main efforts performed on the screening and development of IL-tolerant microbial strains, as well as in more biocompatible IL pretreatment methods. These early research advancements in this field offer a baseline and a platform for future research with the goal of improving the sustainability and economic viability of IL pretreatment-based biorefineries.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationEmerging Technologies for Biorefineries, Biofuels, and Value-Added Commodities
EditorsZ.-H. Liu, A. Ragauskas
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-2800-77894


  • bioconversion
  • bioproducts
  • biorefinery
  • fermentation
  • ionic liquids
  • lignocellulosic biomass
  • microbial tolerance
  • microorganisms
  • sustainability


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