A process for the treatment of biomass to render structural carbohydrates more accessible and/or digestible using concentrated ammonium hydroxide with or without anhydrous ammonia addition, is described. The process preferably uses steam to strip ammonia from the biomass for recycling. The process yields of monosaccharides from the structural carbohydrates are good, particularly as measured by the enzymatic hydrolysis of the structural carbohydrates. The monosaccharides are used as animal feeds and energy sources for ethanol production.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under XCO-3-33033-01 awarded by the United States Department of Energy and under 00-52104-9663 awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The government has certain rights in the invention.