Irradiation enhancement of biomass conversion

G. S. Smith, H. E. Kiesling, M. L. Galyean, J. R. Bader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The vast supply of cellulosic agricultural residues and industrial by-products that is produced each year is a prospective resource of biomass suitable for conversion to useful products such as feedstock for the chemicals industry and feedstuffs for the livestock industry. Conversions of such biomass is poor at present, and utilization is inefficient, because of physio-chemical barriers to biological degradation and (or) anti-quality components such as toxicants that restrict biological usages. Improvements in biodegradability of ligno-cellulosic materials have been accomplished by gamma-ray and electron-beam irradiation at intermediate dosage (∼ 50 Mrad; .5 MGy); but applications of the technology have been hampered by questionable interpretations of results. Recent research with organic wastes such as sewage sludge and straw suggests opportunity for important applications of irradiation technology in enhancement of biomass conversion. Data from experiments using irradiated straw as feed for ruminants are presented and discussed in relation to research on prospective usage of sewage products as feed for ruminants. Findings are discussed in regard to prospective applications in industrial fermentation processes. Possible usage of irradiation technology for destruction of toxicants in exotic plants is considered in regard to prospective new feedstuffs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1985


  • Irradiation
  • agricultural residues
  • biomass conversion
  • chemical feedstock
  • detoxification
  • feedstuffs
  • fermentation
  • industrial by-products
  • straw


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