AbstractThe effect of mild acidic and alkaline pretreatments of various plant biomasses on their enzymatic hydrolysis has been studied. The yield of reducing sugars and utilization rate of the biomass were used as reliable characteristics of enzymatic digestibility of the biomasses. The experiments showed that alkaline pretreatment was more efficient than acidic pretreatment. As a result of alkaline pretreatment, a more efficient delignification of the biomasses and considerable improvement of the digestibility parameters were observed. It was found that residual lignin content in the biomass after alkaline pretreatment was related to initial lignin content in untreated biomass. Moreover, residual lignin showed an evident negative effect on enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated biomass samples, and its removal contributed to higher enzymatic digestibility. It is more preferred to select a mild alkaline pretreatment for biomass that has low content of initial lignin. Such treatment yielded highly delignified biomass with increased percentage of cellulose fraction, which enhanced digestibility at low enzyme loading with a relatively short hydrolysis time.