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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED FORAGE AND BIOENERGY PLANTS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE CENTRAL USA

Location: Grain, Forage & Bioenergy Research

Title: Understanding Ionic Liquid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomasses

Authors
item Singh, Seema - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
item Arora, Rohit - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
item Manisseri, Chithra - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
item Li, Chenlin - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
item Scheller, Henrik - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Simmons, Blake - JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE

Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2009
Publication Date: May 3, 2009
Citation: Singh, S., Arora, R., Manisseri, C., Li, C., Scheller, H.V., Vogel, K.P., Simmons, B.A. 2009. Understanding Ionic Liquid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomasses. p. 65. Abstracts 31st Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Soc. for Industrial Microbiology. May 3-6, San Francisco, CA.

Interpretive Summary: Pretreatment of biomass is essential for breaking apart highly ordered and crystalline plant cell walls and loosening the lignin and hemicellulose conjugation to cellulose microfibrills, thereby facilitating enzyme accessibility and adsorption and reducing costs of downstream saccharification processes. Recent reports 1, 2 have shown very high yields at very low enzyme loadings. However, pretreatement still remains one of the most costly steps in lignocellulosic biofuel production. Ionic liquids are novel solvents showing great promise for lignin and cellulose solubilization. Instant rejection of dissolved polysaccharides upon addition of anti-solvent shows promise for recyclability in addition to other desired attributes like low volatility, non-flammability and thermal stability. Although ionic liquids have been shown to be very effective in cellulose solubilization 3, 4, the disposition of hemicellulose and lignin are not fully understood. The aim of our research is to develop a fundamental understanding of ionic liquid pretreatment by monitoring and analyzing process streams. To that end, we have employed HPAEC, XRD, FTIR, NIR, and SEM to study the impact of ionic liquid pretreatment on switchgrass and corn stover. We will present the results from these measurements in the context of developing and selecting optimized ionic liquid pretreatment conditions for selective depolymerization of either cellulose or lignin, whereby fractionation of different cellulosic and lignin components could be realized.

Technical Abstract: Pretreatment of biomass is essential for breaking apart highly ordered and crystalline plant cell walls and loosening the lignin and hemicellulose conjugation to cellulose microfibrills, thereby facilitating enzyme accessibility and adsorption and reducing costs of downstream saccharification processes. Recent reports 1, 2 have shown very high yields at very low enzyme loadings. However, pretreatement still remains one of the most costly steps in lignocellulosic biofuel production. Ionic liquids are novel solvents showing great promise for lignin and cellulose solubilization. Instant rejection of dissolved polysaccharides upon addition of anti-solvent shows promise for recyclability in addition to other desired attributes like low volatility, non-flammability and thermal stability. Although ionic liquids have been shown to be very effective in cellulose solubilization 3, 4, the disposition of hemicellulose and lignin are not fully understood. The aim of our research is to develop a fundamental understanding of ionic liquid pretreatment by monitoring and analyzing process streams. To that end, we have employed HPAEC, XRD, FTIR, NIR, and SEM to study the impact of ionic liquid pretreatment on switchgrass and corn stover. We will present the results from these measurements in the context of developing and selecting optimized ionic liquid pretreatment conditions for selective depolymerization of either cellulose or lignin, whereby fractionation of different cellulosic and lignin components could be realized.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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