Campus Units

Mechanical Engineering, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Bioeconomy Institute (BEI)

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Biomass and Bioenergy



First Page





The goal of this research is to develop a partial delignification process for corn stover that simultaneously improves accessibility of enzymes to cellulose and recovers hydroxycinnamic acids (HCA) as a value-added product from the lignin. We recover HCAs from corn stover with a mild base extraction employing sodium hydroxide, ethanol, and water. The total HCA yield was 33.5 wt% on a lignin basis and approximately 6 wt% on a corn stover basis. This partial delignification pretreatment allowed 85 wt% of total available glucose to be recovered by enzymatic hydrolysis using an enzyme loading that is only 10% of the level recommended for recovering sugars from lignocellulosic biomass. Technoeconomic analysis indicates that recovery of HCAs could reduce the selling price of ethanol by $0.26 L-1. That part of the lignin not removed as HCA becomes a co-product of enzymatic hydrolysis suitable for thermochemical processing into additional biofuels and/or chemicals.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Johnston, Patrick A., Haoqin Zhou, Alvina Aui, Mark Mba Wright, Zhiyou Wen, and Robert C. Brown. "A lignin-first strategy to recover hydroxycinnamic acids and improve cellulosic ethanol production from corn stover." Biomass and Bioenergy 138 (2020): 105579. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2020.105579. Posted with permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier Ltd.



File Format


2020-BrownRobert-LigninFirst-SI.pdf (83 kB)
Supporting Information

Available for download on Friday, May 06, 2022

Published Version