This work was conducted to evaluate the effect of dilute sodium hydroxide (NaOH) on barley straw at boiling temperature and fractionation of its biomass components into lignin, hemicellulose, and reducing sugars. To this end, various concentrations of NaOH (0.5% to 2%) were applied for pretreatment of barley straw at 105 degrees C for 10 min. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy studies revealed that 2% NaOHpretreated barley straw exposed cellulose fibers on which surface granules were abolished due to comprehensive removal of lignin and hemicellulose. The X-ray diffractometer (XRD) result showed that the crystalline index was increased with increased concentration of NaOH and found a maximum 71.5% for 2% NaOH-pretreated sample. The maximum removal of lignin and hemicellulose was 84.8% and 79.5% from 2% NaOH-pretreated liquor, respectively. Reducing sugar yield was 86.5% from 2% NaOH-pretreated sample using an enzyme dose containing 20 FPU of cellulase, 40 IU of beta-glucosidase, and 4 FXU of xylanase/g substrate. The results of this study suggest that it is possible to produce the bioethanol precursor from barley straw using 2% NaOH at boiling temperature.
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