Particle classification by image analysis improves understanding of corn stover degradation mechanisms during deconstruction
Cousins, Dylan S.
Pedersen, Kristian P.
Otto, William G.
Rony, Asif Hasan
Lacey, Jeffrey A.
Aston, John E.
Hodge, David B.
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iomass feedstock heterogeneity is a principal roadblock to implementation of the biorefinery concept. Even within an identical cultivar of corn stover, different bales contain not only varying abundance moisture, ash, glucan, and other chemical compounds, but also varying abundance of tissue anatomies (e.g., leaf, husk, cob, or stalk). These different anatomical components not only differ in their response to pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis to glucose, but also vary in their mechanical and conveyance properties. Although this heterogeneous nature of corn stover feedstock has been identified as a challenge, a fundamental knowledge gap of how these tissues behave during biorefining processing remains. In this work, we demonstrate the use of a commercial fiber image analyzer typically used for wood fiber characterization to monitor the particle size and shapes of non-woody feedstock during milling, pretreatment, and hydrolysis. Additionally, we present novel use of Gaussian process classification to distinguish bundle, parenchyma, and fiber particles to an accuracy of 96.4%. Quantitative probability distribution plots for characteristics such as length and roundness allow elucidation of particle morphology as pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis progress. In both stalk pith and stalk rind, particles peel into individual cells whose walls are subsequently fragmented during enzymatic hydrolysis.
© This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Cousins, D. S., Pedersen, K. P., Otto, W. G., Rony, A. H., Lacey, J. A., Aston, J. E., & Hodge, D. B. (2023). Particle classification by image analysis improves understanding of corn stover degradation mechanisms during deconstruction. Industrial Crops and Products, 193, 116153.