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A one-step formic acid-catalyzed organosolv process using a low-boiling point acid–solvent system was studied for fractionation of sugarcane bagasse. Compared to H2SO4, the use of formic acid as a promoter resulted in higher efficiency and selectivity on removals of hemicellulose and lignin with increased enzymatic digestibility of the cellulose-enriched solid fraction. The optimal condition from central composite design analysis was determined as 40 min residence time at 159 °C using water/ethanol/ethyl acetate/formic acid in the respective ratios of 43:20:16:21%v/v. Under this condition, a 94.6% recovery of cellulose was obtained in the solid with 80.2% cellulose content while 91.4 and 80.4% of hemicellulose and lignin were removed to the aqueous–alcohol–acid and ethyl acetate phases, respectively. Enzymatic hydrolysis of the solid yielded 84.5% glucose recovery compared to available glucan in the raw material. Physicochemical analysis revealed intact cellulose fibers with decreased crystallinity while the hemicellulose was partially recovered as mono- and oligomeric sugars. High-purity organosolv lignin with < 1% sugar cross-contamination was obtained with no major structural modification according to Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The work represents an alternative process for efficient fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass in biorefineries.
3 Biotech – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 17, 2018
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