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Title: Insights into the effect of dilute acid, hot water or alkaline pretreatment on cellulose accessible surface area and the overall porosity of Populus

Pretreatment is known to render biomass more reactive to cellulase by altering the chemical compositions as well as physical structures of biomass. Simons stain technique along with mercury porosimetry were applied on the acid, neutral, and alkaline pretreated materials to measure the accessible surface area of cellulose and pore size distribution of Populus. Results indicated that acid pretreatment is much more effective than water and alkaline pretreatment in terms of cellulose accessibility increase. Further investigation suggests that lignin does not dictate cellulose accessibility to the extent that hemicellulose does, but it does restrict xylan accessibility which in turn controls the access of cellulase to cellulose. The most interesting finding is that severe acid pretreatment significantly decreases the average pore size, i.e., 90% average size decrease could be observed after 60 min dilute acid pretreatment at 160 °C; moreover, the nano-pore space formed between coated microfibrils is increased after pretreatment, especially for the acid pretreatment, suggesting this particular type of biomass porosity is probably the most fundamental barrier to effective enzymatic hydrolysis.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). Bioenergy Science Center
  2. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). Renewable Bioproducts Institute
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bioenergy Science Center, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Dept. of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Green Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 17; Journal ID: ISSN 1463-9262
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; populus; pretreatment; accessibility
OSTI Identifier: