Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Softwoods: Scientific Note

Q. A. Nguyen, M. P. Tucker, B. L. Boynton, F. A. Keller, D. J. Schell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus Citations


Selective thinning of forests in the western United States will generate a large, sustainable quantity of softwood residues that can be an attractive feedstock for fuel ethanol production. The major species available from thinning of forests in northern California and the eastern Rocky Mountains include white fir (Abies concolor), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Douglas fir chips were soaked in 0.4% sulfuric acid solution, then pretreated with steam at 200-230°C for 1-5 min. After pretreatment, 90-95% of the hemicellulose and as much as 20% of the cellulose was solubilized in water, and 90% of the remaining cellulose can be hydrolyzed to glucose by cellulase enzyme. The prehydrolysates, a as high as 10% total solid concentration, can be readily fermented by the unadapted yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae D5A.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - 1998

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-580-22893


  • Bioconversion
  • Biomass
  • Ethanol
  • Pretreatment
  • Softwood


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