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Barley straw shows potential as feedstock for biobutanol

The hemicellulose sugars of barley straw can be effectively fermented into biobutanol, when starch is added during the pre-treatment or fermentation process, according to a new University of Eastern Finland study.
Seeking to find alternatives to ethanol as a fuel, the study established optimal pre-treatment conditions for turning straw lignocellulose and barley starch into fermentable sugars that can be used in the production of biobutanol.

The hemicellulose sugars of barley straw (e.g. xylose) released during pre-treatment can be effectively fermented into biobutanol, when starch is added to the fermentation broth. The study found that the cooperation of xylanase and surfactants with cellulase during the hydrolysis of straw significantly increased the efficiency of cellulose utilisation in butanol fermentation.

Moreover, the pre-treatment liquor of fresh barley silage was efficiently used for butanol fermentation, indicating the feasibility of utilization of green field biomass preserved by silage technique in a biorefining processes.