Response surface methodology optimization study on corncob pretreatment: Reduction of sodium hydroxide usage and enhancement in pulpzyme HC biobleaching efficiency

T. K. Tang, Y. Y. Lee, E. T. Phuah, C. P. Tan, S. Kanagaratnam, Y. Wang, L. Z. Cheong, N. A. Jamalullail, K. L. Yap, C. M. Lee, J. S. Tan, O. M. Lai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Lignocellulosic rich corncob biomass possesses less complex structure, lignin and pigment content. As compared to wood pulp, it is considered to be a better alternative for the production of cellulose fibre. The present study was conducted to optimize both the alkaline (using sodium hydroxide) and biobleaching (using Pulpzyme HC) pretreatment process of corncob to promote lignin removal and cellulose swelling. It was the aim of this work to achieve mild processing conditions for corncob pretreatment in order to minimize the chemical usage. Results demonstrated that the mild pretreatment approach employed was found to successfully increase cellulose swelling and lignin removal from the corncob biomass. In alkaline pretreatment process, reaction temperature showed to be the most prominent effect in enhancing lignin removal and cellulose swelling as compared to sodium hydroxide concentration and reaction time. RSM optimized conditions for alkaline pretreatment process: 0.5 M NaOH, reaction temperature of 80°C and reaction time of 30 mins manage to increase the sedimentation index (indicate swelling of cellulose) from 0 to 30 and reduce the kappa number (represent lignin removal) from 82 to 32, respectively. Meanwhile, for biobleaching pretreatment using Pulpzyme HC, reaction time play a more significant role than the Pulpzyme HC concentration in promoting lignin removal and increasing cellulose swelling. RSM optimized conditions showed that the kappa number was reduced from 32 to 18 whereas the sedimentation index increased from 30 to 60 when the alkaline pretreated corncob was biobleached with Pulpzyme HC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-213
    Number of pages13
    JournalFood Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


    • Alkaline
    • Biobleaching
    • Corncob
    • Endoglucanase
    • Pulpzyme HC
    • Response surface methodology

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