This study highlights the bio-based production of 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BDO) using a newly isolated strain for the bioconversion of organosolv-pretreated empty fruit bunches (EFB) of oil palm. The microbially produced 2,3-BDO has been considered similar in functionality and a more sustainable chemical than fossil-based chemical (1,4-BDO). As diol pretreated lignocellulosic biomass is hemicellulose-free and rapidly hydrolyzable, EFB was successfully converted into 40 g/L 2,3-BDO with 0.48 g/g-glucan (96% of the maximum theoretical yield). In addition, a comparative energy assessment revealed that 2,3-BDO bioproduction consumed >50 MJ/kg energy from the biomass, which was equivalent to the fossil energy consumption of 1,4-BDO industrial production but 39% reduced GHG emissions than the conventional processes. This finding demonstrates the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly features for 2,3-BDO production using waste biomass derived from the exiting industry. Principally, by recycling the produced 2,3-BDO for replacing the used pre-treatment reagent (organosolv), the biorefinery can eventually become self-sustainable without the need of additional energy and chemicals.
Keywords 2,3-Butanediol, organosolv-pretreatment, oil palm empty fruit bunches, simultaneous saccharification and fermentation, energy and carbon footprint.