Combination of ensiling and fungal delignification as effective wheat straw pretreatment

Sune T. Thomsen, Jorge E. G. Londono, Morten Ambye-Jensen, Stefan Heiske, Zsófia Kádár, Anne S. Meyer

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Background: Utilization of lignocellulosic feedstocks for bioenergy production in developing countries demands competitive but low-tech conversion routes. White-rot fungi (WRF) inoculation and ensiling are two methods previously investigated for low-tech pretreatment of biomasses such as wheat straw (WS). This study was undertaken to assess whether a combination of forced ensiling with Lactobacillus buchneri and WRF treatment using a low cellulase fungus, Ceriporiopsis subvermispora, could produce a relevant pretreatment effect on WS for bioethanol and biogas production. Results: A combination of the ensiling and WRF treatment induced efficient pretreatment of WS by reducing lignin content and increasing enzymatic sugar release, thereby enabling an ethanol yield of 66 % of the theoretical max on the WS glucan, i.e. a yield comparable to yields obtained with high-tech, large-scale pretreatment methods. The pretreatment effect was reached with only a minor total solids loss of 5 % by weight mainly caused by the fungal metabolism. The combination of the biopretreatments did not improve the methane potential of the WS, but improved the initial biogas production rate significantly.Conclusion: The combination of the L. buchneri ensiling and C. subvermispora WRF treatment provided a significant improvement in the pretreatment effect on WS. This combined biopretreatment produced particularly promising results for ethanol production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number16
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Thomsen et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


  • White rot
  • Ceriporiopsis subvermispora
  • Ensiling
  • Pretreatment
  • Lignocellulose
  • Ethanol
  • Biogas


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