Abstract by Collin Stocksdale
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Pretreatment of Lignocellulose with Caldicellulosiruptor bescii
Production of biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, by anaerobic digestion with microbes has gained interest as a source of consistent, renewable energy. Anaerobic digestion relies on the conversion of organic wastes and lignocellulosic materials into biogas. Digestion of lignocellulose is challenging because of the refractory nature of lignin and cellulose. One method for enhancing the digestibility of biomass is by pretreatment with Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, a thermophilic obligate anaerobe. C. bescii breaks down lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose into small molecules with high efficiency. The small molecules are readily converted into methane and carbon dioxide by the microbes used for anaerobic digestion. The purpose of this work is to determine the improvement in yield and rate of biogas production from lignocellulosic materials pretreated with C. bescii. The pretreatment produces acetate, lactate, phenolics, and CO2 gas. Therefore, micro-vessels have been developed with pressure sensors to follow the pretreatment process in real time.