Hemicelluloses, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature, are well suited for ethanol production due to their enormous availability, low cost and environmental benign process. The major fraction in hemeicelluloses is pentosans and the conversion of pentosans to ethanol is problematic. To get the process economized, the conversion of hemicellulose to ethanol with a satisfactory yield is necessary. In recent years, significant advances have been made towards the technology of pentosans to ethanol conversion. However, there are technical and economical impediments to the development of commercially viable processes utilizing hemicellulosic derived sugars. This article provides an overview of the new insights in pentose sugars conversion into ethanol, pentoses resources, microorganisms and the technology.
Key words: Hemicellulose, bioethanol, pentose sugars, yeasts, fermentation.
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