This study aimed to determine the effect of moisture content of three different feedstocks on overall ethanol yield. Switchgrass and sugarcane bagasse from two sources were either soaked in water (∼80% moisture) or left dry (∼12% moisture), and half each of these were impregnated with 3%w/w SO2and all were steam pretreated. The twelve resulting substrates were compared based on overall sugar recovery after pretreatment, cellulose conversion following enzymatic hydrolysis, and ethanol yield following simultaneous saccharification and fermentation. The overall ethanol yield after simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of hexoses was 18-28% higher in samples that were soaked prior to SO2addition than in SO2-catalyzed samples that were not soaked. In samples that were uncatalyzed, soaking made little difference, indicating that the positive effect of increased moisture content may be related to increased permeability of the biomass to SO2. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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