The enzymatic hydrolysis of steam-pretreated sugarcane bagasse, either delignified or non-delignified, was studied as a function of enzyme loading. Hydrolysis experiments were carried out using five enzyme loadings (2.5 to 20 FPU/g cellulose) and the concentration of solids was 2% for both materials. Alkaline delignification improved cellulose hydrolysis by increasing surface area. For both materials, glucose concentrations increased with enzyme loading. On the other hand, enzyme loadings higher than 15 FPU/g did not result in any increase in the initial rate, since the excess of enzyme adsorbed onto the substrate restricted the diffusion process through the structure.
In this work, a methodology for the characterization of sugar cane bagasse was validated. Bagasse pre-treated with steam in a 5000 L reactor at a pressure of 15.3 kgf/cm², during 7 min, was used to test the methodology. The methodology consisted of the hydrolysis of the material with H2SO4 at 72% v/v, for the quantification of carbohydrates, organic acid, furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural by HPLC; insoluble lignin and ash by gravimetry; and soluble lignin by spectrophotometry. Linearity, repeatability, reproducibility and accuracy of the results obtained in two Research Laboratories were determined, and were considered to be suitable for the validation of the methodology.