Ionic Liquid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Wood Biomass

Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass materials from poplar, acacia, oak, and fir with different ionic liquids (ILs) containing 1-alkyl-3-methyl-imidazolium cations and various anions has been carried out. The dissolved cellulose from biomass was precipitated by adding anti-solvents into the solution and vigorous stirring. Commercial cellulases Celluclast 1.5L and Accelerase 1000 have been used for hydrolysis of untreated and pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. Among the tested ILs, [Emim]COOCH3 showed the best efficiency, resulting in highest amount of liberated reducing sugars. Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass using glycerol-ionic liquids combined pretreatment and dilute acid-ionic liquids combined pretreatment were evaluated and compared with glycerol pretreatment, ionic liquids pretreatment and dilute acid pretreatment.

Structural Analysis of Lignins from Different Sources

Five lignin samples were fractionated with Acetone/Water mixtures and the obtained fractions were subjected to extensive structural characterization, including Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR), Gel permeation Chromatography (GPC) and Phosphorus-31 NMR spectroscopy (31P-NMR). The results showed that for all studied lignins the solubility increases with the increment of the acetone concentration. Wheat straw lignin has the highest solubility in 90/10 (v/v) Acetone/Water mixture, 400 mg lignin being dissolved in 1 mL mixture. The weight average molecular weight of the obtained fractions increased with the increment of acetone concentration and thus with solubility. 31P-NMR analysis based on lignin modification by reactive phospholane into phosphitylated compounds was used to differentiate and quantify the different types of OH groups (aromatic, aliphatic, and carboxylic) found in the fractions obtained with 70/30 (v/v) Acetone/Water mixture.