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  1. Here, in an effort to better understand the biomass recalcitrance, six natural poplar variants were selected as feedstocks based on previous sugar release analysis. Compositional analysis and physicochemical characterizations of these poplars were performed and the correlations between these physicochemical properties and enzymatic hydrolysis yield were investigated. Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and 13C solid state NMR were used to determine the degree of polymerization (DP) and crystallinity index (CrI) of cellulose, and the results along with the sugar release study indicated that cellulose DP likely played a more important role in enzymatic hydrolysis. Simons’ stain revealed that the accessible surface area of substrate significantly varied among these variants from 17.3 to 33.2 mg gmore » $$–1\atop{biomass}$$ as reflected by dye adsorption, and cellulose accessibility was shown as one of the major factors governing substrates digestibility. HSQC and 31P NMR analysis detailed the structural features of poplar lignin variants. Overall, cellulose relevant factors appeared to have a stronger correlation with glucose release, if any, than lignin structural features. Lignin structural features, such as a phenolic hydroxyl group and the ratio of syringyl and guaiacyl (S/G), were found to have a more convincing impact on xylose release. Low lignin content, low cellulose DP, and high cellulose accessibility generally favor enzymatic hydrolysis; however, recalcitrance cannot be simply judged on any single substrate factor.« less
  2. Surface characteristic changes to poplar after ammonia and organosolv pretreatments were investigated by means of time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) analysis. Whereas normalized total polysaccharides and lignin contents on the surface differed from bulk chemical compositions, the surface cellulose ions detected by TOF-SIMS showed the same value trend as the cellulose content in the biomass. In addition, the lignin syringyl/guaiacyl ratio according to TOF-SIMS results showed the same trend as the ratio measured by means of NMR spectroscopic analysis, even though the ratio scales for each method were different. A similar correlation was determined between the surface cellulose and glucosemore » release after enzymatic hydrolysis. Lastly, these results demonstrate that surface characterization using TOF-SIMS can provide important information about the effects of pretreatment on biomass properties and its hydrolysis.« less
  3. Rhodococcus opacus DSM 1069 utilized pine organosolv pretreatment effluent as a sole carbon and energy source for 120 h at 1.5 w/v% solids concentration and accumulated a maximum of 26.99 ± 2.88% of its cellular dry weight in oils composed of oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids. Here, these results establish the potential for lignocellulosic pretreatment effluent as a feedstock for microbial biodiesel production via oleaginous R. opacus and an interesting route for biorefinery waste stream optimization.

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