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Journal of Energy
Volume 2014, Article ID 483813, 7 pages
Research Article

Microwave Assisted Alkali Pretreatment of Rice Straw for Enhancing Enzymatic Digestibility

1Centre for Environment Science and Climate Resilient Agriculture, IARI, New Delhi 110012, India
2Civil Engineering, Architecture and Building (CAB), Faculty of Engineering and Computing, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK

Received 8 August 2013; Accepted 6 January 2014; Published 25 March 2014

Academic Editor: S. Venkata Mohan

Copyright © 2014 Renu Singh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rapid industrialization, increasing energy demand, and climate change are the conditions that forced the researchers to develop a clean, efficient, renewable, and sustainable source of energy which has a potential to replace fossil fuels. Ethanol is one of the attractive and suitable renewable energy resources. In present study, effectiveness of microwave pretreatment in combination with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) for increasing enzymatic hydrolysis of rice straw has been investigated and under optimum conditions obtained a maximum reducing sugar (1334.79 µg/mL) through microwave assisted NaOH pretreatment. Chemical composition analysis and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images showed that the removal of lignin, hemicellulose, and silicon content is more in microwave assisted NaOH pretreatment than the blank sample. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis revealed that the crystallinity index of rice straw treated with microwave assisted alkali (54.55%) is significantly high as compared to the blank (49.07%). Hence, the present study proves that microwave assisted alkali pretreatment can effectively enhance enzymatic digestibility of rice straw and it is feasible to convert rice straw for bioethanol production.