Application of ammonia pretreatment to enable enzymatic hydrolysis of hardwood biomass

Kiyoshi Sakuragi, Kiyohiko Igarashi, Masahiro Samejima

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    Ammonia pretreatment greatly improves enzymatic hydrolysis of grass biomass, but is reported to be ineffective for hardwood biomass. Here, we examined the effectiveness of ammonia pretreatment of biomass from six hardwood species with different contents of xylan and lignin. Ammonia pretreatment greatly improved enzymatic hydrolysis of polysaccharides in birch and willow, but was less effective for acacia, eucalyptus, and poplar. The effectiveness of ammonia pretreatment increased with xylan content but decreased with lignin content of the hardwood species. By adding a recombinant xylanase to the commercial enzyme digestion cocktail, the yield of enzymatic hydrolysis of ammonia-pretreated birch biomass was improved to a similar level to that obtained with grass biomass. Our results indicate that enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass from hardwood species having a relatively high xylan/lignin ratio can be achieved with a xylanase-enriched enzyme cocktail after ammonia pretreatment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-25
    JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    This research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 23248025 and 16H04949 to M.S.) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and Grants-in-Aid for Innovative Areas (Nos. 24114001 and 24114008 to K.I.) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Technology (MEXT). K.I. thanks the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (TEKES) for the support of the Finland Distinguished Professor (FiDiPro) Program.


    • Ammonia pretreatment
    • Biomass conversion
    • Enzymatic hydrolysis
    • Hardwood biomass
    • Xylanase


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