Comparative study on enzymatic digestibility of switchgrass varieties and harvests processed by leading pretreatment technologies

Youngmi Kim, Nathan S. Mosier, Michael R. Ladisch, V. Ramesh Pallapolu, Y. Y. Lee, Rebecca Garlock, Venkatesh Balan, Bruce E. Dale, Bryon S. Donohoe, Todd B. Vinzant, Richard T. Elander, Matthew Falls, Rocio Sierra, Mark T. Holtzapple, Jian Shi, Mirvat A. Ebrik, Tim Redmond, Bin Yang, Charles E. Wyman, Ryan E. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Feedstock quality of switchgrass for biofuel production depends on many factors such as morphological types, geographic origins, maturity, environmental and cultivation parameters, and storage. We report variability in compositions and enzymatic digestion efficiencies for three cultivars of switchgrass (Alamo, Dacotah and Shawnee), grown and harvested at different locations and seasons. Saccharification yields of switchgrass processed by different pretreatment technologies (AFEX, dilute sulfuric acid, liquid hot water, lime, and soaking in aqueous ammonia) are compared in regards to switchgrass genotypes and harvest seasons. Despite its higher cellulose content per dry mass, Dacotah switchgrass harvested after wintering consistently gave a lower saccharification yield than the other two varieties harvested in the fall. The recalcitrance of upland cultivars and over-wintered switchgrass may require more severe pretreatment conditions. We discuss the key features of different pretreatment technologies and differences in switchgrass cultivars and harvest seasons on hydrolysis performance for the applied pretreatment methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11089-11096
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The material in this work was supported by U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Biomass Program (Contract # DE-FG36-07GO17102). We thank Genencor, a Danisco Division, for a gift of enzymes and all members of CAFI (Biomass Refining Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation) team. The authors also thank Dr. Rajeev Kumar and Dr. Eduardo Ximenes for their internal review of this paper and helpful suggestions, and Professor Charles Wyman for his leadership of CAFI.


  • Ethanol
  • Harvest season
  • Lignocellulose
  • Pretreatment
  • Switchgrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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