The feasibility of fungal pretreatment of cornstalk with Phanerochaete chrysosporium for enzymatic saccharification and H(2) production was investigated in this study. Firstly, cornstalk was pretreated with P. chrysosporium at 29 °C under static condition for 15 d, lignin reduction was up to 34.3% with holocellulose loss less than 10%. Microscopic structure observation combined FTIR analysis further demonstrated that the lignin and crystallinity were decreased. Subsequently, the fungal-pretreated cornstalk was subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis by the crude cellulase from Trichoderma viride to produce fermentable sugars which were then fermented to bio-H(2) using Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum W16. The maximum enzymatic saccharification was found to be 47.3% which was 20.3% higher than the control without pretreatment. Upon fermentation of enzymatic hydrolysate, the yield of H(2) was calculated to be 80.3 ml/g-pretreated cornstalk. The present results suggested the potential of using hydrogen-producing bacteria for high-yield conversion of cornstalk into bio-H(2) integrate with biological pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification.
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