Fungal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass
Pretreatment is a crucial step in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars and biofuels. Compared to thermal/chemical pretreatment, fungal pretreatment reduces the recalcitrance of lignocellulosic biomass by lignin-degrading microorganisms and thus potentially provides an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient pretreatment technology for biofuel production. This paper provides an overview of the current state of fungal pretreatment by white rot fungi for biofuel production. The specific topics discussed are: 1) enzymes involved in biodegradation during the fungal pretreatment; 2) operating parameters governing performance of the fungal pretreatment; 3) the effect of fungal pretreatment on enzymatic hydrolysis and ethanol production; 4) efforts for improving enzymatic hydrolysis and ethanol production through combinations of fungal pretreatment and physical/chemical pretreatment; 5) the treatment of lignocellulosic biomass with lignin-degrading enzymes isolated from fungal pretreatment, with a comparison to fungal pretreatment; 6) modeling, reactor design, and scale-up of solid state fungal pretreatment; and 7) the limitation and future perspective of this technology.