Animal digestive strategies versus anaerobic digestion bioprocesses for biogas production from lignocellulosic biomass

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Journal titleReviews in Environmental Science and Bio/technology
Pages4362; # of pages: 20
SubjectAnaerobic digestion; Rumen fermentation; Hindgut; Termite; Lignocellulose
AbstractHerbivorous mammals and wood-eating insects are fairly effective in the digestion of plant polymers, such as lignocellulosics. In order to improve methane production from the lignocellulosic biomass, several kinds of anaerobic digestion processes derived from animal models have been devised. However, the rates of biodegradation occurring in the anaerobic bioreactors still remain lower than in animal guts. The effectiveness of the digestive systems of those animals results from the concerted action of the various enzymes (e.g. cellulases, xylanases, esterases, ligninases) produced in their guts as well as their integration with mechanical and chemical actions. Powerful pretreatment (prefermentation) operations are integrated to and support efficiently the microbial fermentation system, e.g. the rumination (i.e. mechanical) in ruminants and the secretion of endogenous cellulases (i.e. enzymatic) or the alkaline treatment (chemical) at mid-way in xylophagous insects. The oxygen gradients along the gastrointestinal tract may also stimulate the hydrolytic activities of some microbial populations. In addition, the solid retention time, the digesta flow and the removal of the end-products are well ordered to enable animals to thrive on a complex polymer such as lignocellulose. At the same time, technologies were developed to degrade lignocellulosic biomass, such as the rumen derived anaerobic digestion (RUDAD) process and the rumen simulating technique (RUSITEC), more elaborated and using rumen microbial consortia. Overall, they showed that the fermentation taking place in the rumen fermentation and even in the hindgut are biological processes that go beyond the limited environmental conditions generally found in anaerobic digesters. Hence, knowledge on herbivores' digestion mechanisms might be better exploited in the design and operation of anaerobic digesters. This literature review is a cross-analysis of the relevant information about the digestive strategies of herbivorous and wood-eating animals and the bioengineering techniques in lignocelluloses degradation. The aim is to highlight strategies of animals' digestion simulation for more effective anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic compounds and other solid residues. © 2010 Her Majesty.
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AffiliationNRC Biotechnology Research Institute; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number53325
NPARC number18054698
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Record identifier736b7e7f-de5d-45d4-a8b3-9012a6ca0be9
Record created2011-07-04
Record modified2017-03-23
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