Effects of sodium hydroxide pretreatment on structural components of biomass

A. A. Modenbach, S. E. Nokes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Pretreatment is a unit operation in the conversion of biomass to valuable products that utilizes various combinations of conditions, including chemicals, heat, pressure, and time, to reduce the recalcitrance of lignocellulose. Many such pretreatments have been developed over the years, as the operating conditions can be adapted so that lignocellulose is modified in ways unique to each pretreatment. By tailoring pretreatment conditions to achieve these modifications, the types of final products produced can be controlled. The purpose of this review is to provide a consolidated source of information for sodium hydroxide effects on lignocellulose. The structural characteristics of lignocellulose and the alterations that occur due to the application of sodium hydroxide are detailed. This review also includes a brief description of the chemical reaction mechanism that ensues during the pretreatment. Lastly, the results of studies that utilized sodium hydroxide pretreatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1198
Number of pages12
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.


  • Alkaline pretreatment
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Lignocellulose
  • Reaction mechanism
  • Sodium hydroxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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