Surface and ultrastructural characterization of raw and pretreated switchgrass

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The US Department of Energy-funded Biomass Refining CAFI (Consortium for Applied Fundamentals and Innovation) project has developed leading pretreatment technologies for application to switchgrass and has evaluated their effectiveness in recovering sugars from the coupled operations of pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. Key chemical and physical characteristics have been determined for pretreated switchgrass samples. Several analytical microscopy approaches utilizing instruments in the Biomass Surface Characterization Laboratory (BSCL) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been applied to untreated and CAFI-pretreated switchgrass samples. The results of this work have shown that each of the CAFI pretreatment approaches on switchgrass result in different structural impacts at the plant tissue, cellular, and cell wall levels. Some of these structural changes can be related to changes in chemical composition upon pretreatment. There are also apparently different structural mechanisms that are responsible for achieving the highest enzymatic hydrolysis sugar yields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11097-11104
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this work was provided by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Biomass Program. The authors would like to thank the CAFI team members and students for providing the samples and performing the pretreatment, compositional analysis, and enzymatic digestibility analysis that supported this work.


  • Biomass
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Microscopy
  • Pretreatment
  • Switchgrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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