Alkaline Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment Unlocks Energy in Agricultural By-Products

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Science  15 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4727, pp. 820-822
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4727.820


Lignocellulosic residues (wheat straw, corncobs, and cornstalks) were treated with a dilute alkaline solution of hydrogen peroxide and suspended in cattle rumen in situ to measure microbial degradation. The rate and extent of dry matter disappearance were markedly increased as a result of the treatment. Results in vivo indicate that this treatment increases the fermentability of wheat straw structural carbohydrates such that this agricultural by-product may be considered an acceptable energy source for the ruminant animal. Treatment of wheat straw allowed more complete bacterial colonization and more rapid degradation of the cell wall.