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Study of the Ultrastructure of Eucalyptus globulus Wood Substrates Subjected to Auto-Hydrolysis and Diluted Acid Hydrolysis Pre-treatments and Its Influence on Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Arévalo, Cristian, Freer, Juanita, Naulin, Pamela A., Barrera, Nelson P., Troncoso, Eduardo, Araya, Juan, Peña-Farfal, Carlos, del P. Castillo, Rosario
BioEnergy research 2017 v.10 no.3 pp. 714-727
Eucalyptus globulus, acid hydrolysis, biofuels, cell walls, cellulose, enzymatic hydrolysis, enzymes, ethanol production, lignocellulose, ultrastructure, wood
Dilute acid hydrolysis (DAH) and auto-hydrolysis (AU) have demonstrated to be optimal pre-treatments for the generation of biofuels from wood. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of ensuring the accessibility of cellulose enzymes during the enzymatic hydrolysis (EH) of pre-treated materials. In this work, the microscopic and nanoscopic structures of Eucalyptus globulus samples pre-treated by AU and DAH were evaluated by different techniques to understand the effect of the ultrastructure of samples on the enzymatic conversion and cellulose accessibility for bioethanol production. Microscopic techniques revealed changes in the physical characteristics of pre-treated fibers, coalescence at microscopic level, and differences in the chemical distribution of lignocellulosic components depending on the severity and type of pre-treatment. The atomic force microscopy-based nanoscopic study of samples showed differences in the effect of the pre-treatments on the ultrastructure of samples, with DAH pre-treatment producing major changes in the secondary cell wall with respect to AU samples at comparable severities, and a positive effect of the DAH ultrastructure changes to increase the EH yield.