Knowing when to harvest switchgrass and the application of a simple pretreatment process could boost the cellulosic-ethanol yield from the perennial grass, according to researchers. "Switchgrass harvested in the spring had more cellulose, but also more lignin. You do not get the advantage of the increased cellulose content because it's more difficult to extract those sugars because of the lignin," said researcher Youngmi Kim. Boiling switchgrass under pressure for about 10 minutes will help ease the removal of lignin, Kim said.
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