Reduce recalcitrance of cornstalk using post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater pretreatment

Meng Li, Buchun Si, Yuanhui Zhang, Jamison Watson, Aersi Aierzhati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrothermal pretreatment (HTP) using an acidic catalyst is known to be effective for reducing lignocellulosic biomass recalcitrance. Post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater (PHW) from hydrothermal liquefaction of swine manure contains a large fraction of organic acids and thus was introduced to improve the HTP of cornstalk in this study. The response surface methodology was performed to optimize operating parameters of HTP for preserving structural polysaccharides while removing the barrier substances. A remarkable co-extraction of cell wall polymers was observed during PHW-catalyzed HTP at 172 °C for 88 min. The analysis of particle size, crystalline cellulose, the degree of polymerization (DP), mole number (MN) and SEM suggested that the co-extraction effect could distinctively alter lignocellulosic structures associated with recalcitrance and thus accelerate biomass saccharification. Additionally, the biodegradability of PHW was improved after HTP as a result of balanced nutrients and increased acids and sugars suitable for biogas production via anaerobic fermentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Biodegradability
  • Biomass recalcitrance
  • Cornstalk
  • Hydrothermal pretreatment
  • Post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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