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An efficient magnetic carbon-based solid acid treatment for corncob saccharification with high selectivity for xylose and enhanced enzymatic digestibility
- Qi, Wei, Liu, Guifeng, He, Chao, Liu, Shuna, Lu, Si, Yue, Jun, Wang, Qiong, Wang, Zhongming, Yuan, Zhenhong, Hu, Jianhua
- Green chemistry 2019 v.21 no.6 pp. 1292-1304
- X-radiation, acid treatment, catalysts, catalytic activity, cell walls, cellulose, corn cobs, enzymatic hydrolysis, enzymes, glucose, green chemistry, hydrolysis, lignocellulose, macropores, magnetic materials, magnetism, microscopy, porosity, saccharification, surface area, xylose
- An effective method for corncob saccharification was investigated over a magnetic carbon-based solid acid (MMCSA) catalyst in the aqueous phase. MMCSA was synthesized through a simple and inexpensive impregnation–carbonization–sulfonation process. Under the optimal reaction conditions (150 °C, 2 h, 0.5 g corncob, 0.5 g catalyst and 50 ml deionized water), 74.9% of xylose yield was directly obtained from corncob, with 91.7% cellulose retention in the residue. After the reaction, the MMCSA was easily separated from the residue using an external magnet and reused 4 times, showing its high stability and catalytic activity. The enzymatic digestibility of the pretreated residue reached 95.2%, with a total sugar yield of 90.4%. The morphological and structural properties of the natural and treated corncobs were analyzed primarily through 3D X-ray microscopy to characterize the cell wall thickness, porosity, and pore surface area distribution. The increase of macropores (pore surface areas >200 μm²) was beneficial for the accessibility of cellulose to cellulosic enzymes, so the enzymatic digestibility was enhanced immediately. Compared with other traditional hydrolysis methods, this two-step hydrolysis approach represents an environmentally friendly and sustainable saccharification of lignocellulose to produce xylose and glucose while achieving the same level of reaction efficiency.