AbstractThe performance of a process called sulfite pretreatment to overcome recalcitrance of lignocelluloses (SPORL), which was carried out at high pH, was preliminarily investigated as a means of improving bagasse substrate enzymatic digestibility (SED). The lignin removal significantly affected the SED resulting from the SPORL-high-pH treatment. Lignin removal was found to be well-correlated with SED when the Boltzmann function was used to fit the curve. In this fitting curve, SED increased slowly initially and then rose up quickly with lignin removal (from 0% to 10%, and then from 10% to 35%) and finally reached an asymptotic value (80%, based on o.d. glucan in the pretreated substrate). Removing lignin to about 35% to 40% would be sufficient to significantly improve the SED of bagasse to the asymptotic value (80%) during enzymatic hydrolysis, while low cellulase and b-glucosidase (15 FPU/g and 22.5 CUB/g o.d. cellulose in the substrate, respectively) were loaded. Furthermore, combining this Boltzmann function and the SPORL-high-pH delignification model would be useful for predicting neutral-sulfite pretreated SED.