Open Access Original research

Dilute H2SO4-catalyzed hydrothermal pretreatment to enhance enzymatic digestibility of Jatropha curcas fruit hull for ethanol fermentation

Ahmad Marasabessy123*, A Maarten J Kootstra14, Johan PM Sanders1 and Ruud A Weusthuis1

Author Affiliations

1 Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group, Biobased Commodity Chemicals, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 17, Wageningen, 6700 AA, The Netherlands

2 Department of Chemical Engineering, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, Groningen, 9747 AG, The Netherlands

3 Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), Jl. MH Thamrin 8, Jakarta, 10340, Indonesia

4 Bioprocess Engineering Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 17, Wageningen, 6700 AA, The Netherlands

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International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering 2012, 3:15  doi:10.1186/2251-6832-3-15

Published: 31 August 2012


Dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of the Jatropha curcas fruit hull at high temperatures (140°C to 180°C) performed in a 110-mL stainless steel reactor was investigated to enhance the enzymatic digestibility of its lignocellulosic components. Carbohydrates accounted for 43% of the dry matter of the J. curcas fruit hull biomass. The goal of the study was to optimize the pretreatment conditions (acid concentration, time, and temperature) in order to obtain the highest sugar yield after subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis. A Box-Behnken design was applied to the experimental setup in order to reduce the number of experiments. The optimal pretreatment conditions are 30-min incubations at a temperature of 178°C with a sulfuric acid concentration of 0.9% (w/v). Using these pretreatment conditions for a fruit solid loading of 9.52% followed by a 24-h enzymatic hydrolysis resulted in a liberation of 100% of all pentoses present (71% yield and 29% degradation to furfural) and 83% of the hexoses (78% yield and 5% degradation to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural). The simultaneous saccharification and fermentation experiment showed that acid-pretreated fruit hull can be used as a substrate for Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce ethanol.

Box-Behnken; Jatropha curcas; Fruit hull; Hemicellulose; Cellulose; Pentose; Hexose; Ethanol