Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Wheat straw bio-refining. Part II: Optimization of the microwave radiation with sulphuric acid pre-treatment and its enzymatic hydrolysis for fermentable sugars

Festus, Onome; Skoulou, Vasiliki K; Zein, Sharif H.


Onome Festus

Profile Image

Dr Vicky Skoulou
Graduate Research Director (GRD) of School of Engineering ; Senior Lecturer (Assoc. Prof.) in Chemical Engineering-Bioenergy ; PI of the B3: Biomass Waste- BioenergH2- Biochars Challenge Group of PGRs and PDRAs

Profile Image

Dr Sharif Zein
Senior Fellow HEA| Reader in Biorefinery Processes and Reaction Engineering| PI of Bioref Group


Background: The potential of microwave-assisted heating for enhancing the alkaline pretreatment of lignocellulosic waste is highlighted in this work.

Objective: To maximize separation of fermentable sugars from wheat straw.

Methods: Wheat straw hydrolysis assisted by microwave was carried out by setting up a statistical experimental design method and further investigating the main process parameters, namely: temperature (°C), microwave power (W), NaOH concentration (M) and wheat straw pre-treatment time (min) towards maximization of fermentable sugars extraction from wheat straw. The reducing sugars yield (response) of the alkaline pre-treated and microwaved wheat straw in lab scale provided data for building a predictive model which reflected interactions, significance and impact of the process parameters (factors) on the wheat straw hydrolysis yield.

Results: SEM and FTIR images of untreated and alkaline pre-treated wheat straw were studied for investigating the morphological changes of wheat straw surface quality and structure resulting from the microwave and/or alkaline pre-treatment. In addition reducing sugars yield of 87%wt. from wheat straw pre-treated at 180°C, 550W microwave power, 0.65M of NaOH for 25min was achieved. This result was significantly higher compared to the one from the straw which was only hydrolysed enzymatically (30 %wt).

Conclusion: It was found that shorter pre-treatment times were obtained at higher temperatures, alkali concentration and moderate microwave power levels. The results obtained were further optimized and indicated that the microwave-assisted alkaline pre-treatment of wheat straw technique is an attractive pre-treatment method which reduces the wheat straw pre-treatment time and enhances the hydrolysis yield.


Festus, O., Skoulou, V. K., & Zein, S. H. (2017). Wheat straw bio-refining. Part II: Optimization of the microwave radiation with sulphuric acid pre-treatment and its enzymatic hydrolysis for fermentable sugars. Current Microwave Chemistry, 4(4), 306-316.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 28, 2017
Publication Date Nov 30, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Current Microwave Chemistry
Print ISSN 2213-3356
Publisher Bentham Science Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 4
Pages 306-316
Keywords Bioethanol; Enzymatic hydrolysis; Experimental design; Fermentable sugars; Lignocellulose; Microwave-assisted pre-treatment; Wheat straw
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
©2018 The authors

This is the accepted version of an article published in Current Microwave Technology. The published version can be accessed at the DOI link above.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations