Integrated biochemical conversion of biomass into chemicals and fuels

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Guest Editor
Prof. Rafael Luque
Departamento de Química Orgánica, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain 

Manuscript Topics
Invitation to submit an original research article, opinion paper or review article for a special issue of AIMS Environmental Science:
Theme:  Integrated biochemical conversion of biomass into chemicals and fuels

As a renewable carbon precursor, biomass will serve one of the predominant energy sources just after fossil-based fuels in the foreseeable future. From the very beginning bio-ethanol is being started to produce at the industrial scale by fermentation process and is now almost commercialized in the United States and Brazil. However, a major fraction of biomass, i.e. lignocellulosics, is not yet explored significantly due to their hydrolytic stability and structural robustness that makes a barrier to produce fermentable sugars trapped inside the lignocellulose.

A range of chemical processes is currently established to convert biomass into other forms, such as to produce platform and fine chemicals, and fuels. But many of these processes are based on coal-based processes, such as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, which involve gasification or pyrolysis at high temperature consuming large amount of energy. On the other hand, biochemical conversion is more economical and environmentally safer with less technical risk. However, the major barrier of this process is that it is very slow in comparison to any chemical process. The reason is the high crystallinity of the lignocelluloses and the presence of lignin, cross-linked with the polysaccharides to make a rigid hydrophobic network, which plays a negative effect on enzymatic action. This problem can be solved by introducing a chemical pretreatment step before the biological process that effectively opens up the structure of hydrolysis-resistant lignocellulosic matrix for the suitable application of enzymatic or microbial catalysts. The combined steps of pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis can easily overcome the biomass recalcitrance during a biochemical conversion process.

The present issue targets the novel developments on integrated biochemical processes which enable the biomass deconstruction process feasible for real terms applications. We invite articles that address innovative findings on integrated biocatalysis process in sustainable biorefineries from different engineering aspects. Particular attention will be given to understanding the mechanism of action for each process.

Paper submission
 All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed before their acceptance for publication.
The deadline for manuscript submission is 31 July 2015.

Instructions for authors

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