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Formic acid aided hot water extraction of hemicellulose from European silver birch (Betula pendula) sawdust

Goldmann, Werner Marcelo, Ahola, Juha, Mikola, Marja, Tanskanen, Juha
Bioresource technology 2017 v.232 pp. 176-182
Betula pendula, biomass, cellulose, detection limit, formic acid, furfural, hemicellulose, hydrolysis, lignin, lignocellulose, sawdust, temperature, xylose
Hemicellulose has been extracted from birch (Betula pendula) sawdust by formic acid aided hot water extraction. The maximum amount of hemicellulose extracted was about 70mol% of the total hemicellulose content at 170°C, measured as the combined yield of xylose and furfural. Lower temperatures (130 and 140°C) favored hemicellulose hydrolysis rather than cellulose hydrolysis, even though the total hemicellulose yield was less than at 170°C. It was found that formic acid greatly increased the hydrolysis of hemicellulose to xylose and furfural at the experimental temperatures. The amount of lignin in the extract remained below the detection limit of the analysis (3g/L) in all cases. Formic acid aided hot water extraction is a promising technique for extracting hemicellulose from woody biomass, while leaving a solid residue with low hemicellulose content, which can be delignified to culminate in the three main isolated lignocellulosic fractions: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.