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One-pot selective conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into furfural and co-products using aqueous choline chloride/methyl isobutyl ketone biphasic solvent system

Chen, Zhu, Bai, Xianglan, Lusi, A, Jacoby, William A., Wan, Caixia
Bioresource technology 2019 v.289 pp. 121708
Panicum virgatum, biomass, cellulose, choline chloride, coproducts, enzymatic hydrolysis, fractionation, furfural, glucose, hydrolysis, lignin, lignocellulose, moieties, molecular weight, pulp, solubilization, solvents, sulfuric acid, xylan
This study investigated simultaneous lignocellulose fractionation and conversion in a one-pot reaction using an aqueous choline chloride/methyl isobutyl ketone (ChCl/MIBK) biphasic solvent system. Under the optimized condition (170 °C, 60 min, 0.6 wt% H2SO4, 10.7 wt% solid loading), the biphasic solvent solubilized 96% xylan in raw switchgrass, which was simultaneously converted to furfural with a yield of 84.04%. The biphasic solvent was also able to selectively extract lignin, which had a high purity (93.1%), and uncondensed moieties (i.e., Hibbert’s ketone), as well as decreased molecular weight and polydispersity index. The resultant pulp was enriched with cellulose (73.3%), which can be completely hydrolyzed into glucose within 48 h via enzymatic hydrolysis. Aqueous ChCl was successfully recycled and reused for atleast three cycles with similar performance in switchgrass fractionation. This study demonstrated that aqueous ChCl/MIBK biphasic system was an effective solvent system for co-production of furfural, high quality technical lignin and digestible cellulose for further upgrading.