AbstractThe effects on both cellulose conversion rate and lactic acid yield were studied by adding inhibitors, including formic acid, acetic acid, furfural, and vanillin into the hydrolysate of steam-pretreated Lespedeza stalks. The results suggest that formic acid has a significant influence on the enzyme activity and poisoned bacterial cells, resulting in the reduction of cellulose conversion rate and lactic acid yield by 21% and 16.4%, respectively. Acetic acid showed a strong inhibition on simultaneous saccharification fermentation (SSF) process, but little effect on enzymatic hydrolysis. Hydrolysis and SSF were less affected by furfural and vanillin compared with weak acids. The lactic acid yield of Lespedeza stalks rinsed with water increased from 64.0% to 89.4%, and the time to reach the maximum concentration was shortened from 96 hours to 48 hours when compared with the unwashed materials.