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Improved sulfuric acid decrystallization of wheat straw to obtain high yield carbohydrates

Hausser, Nicolas, Marinkovic, Sinisa, Estrine, Boris
Cellulose 2011 v.18 no.6 pp. 1521-1525
acid hydrolysis, biofuels, biomass, cellulose, chemical industry, energy, feedstocks, fractionation, fuel production, glucose, hemicellulose, pentoses, processing market, raw materials, sulfuric acid, wheat straw
Wheat straw is an abundant residue of agriculture which is increasingly considered as a feedstock for the production of fuels, energy and chemicals. The concentrated acid hydrolysis of wheat straw has been investigated in this work. Hemicellulose and cellulose have been efficiently converted into monomers of pentoses and glucose in high yields by a one-pot decrystallization-hydrolysis procedure. This process differs from usual concentrated acid biomass fractionation methodologies as a low quantity of acid is used and the supplementary use of a costly acid is not necessary to yield efficiently carbohydrates. The influence of the acid native concentration, and of the time of the decrystallization step have been studied so as to optimise yields of carbohydrates using a minimum of sulfuric acid so as to preserve a potential market value of the process. One can also imagine that this procedure will not impact dramatically the subsequent purification costs. In view of the growing importance of renewable resource-based molecules in the chemical industry, and the necessity to produce fermentable substrate for biofuels, this approach may open a new avenue for the use of wheat straw as raw material for various applications.