During the bioethanol production, pretreatment, serving as the process to de-crystallization of natural cellulose, is required to benefit the subsequent enzymatic saccharification and to increase the porosity of its surface.
Previous works revealed that Room Temperature Ionic Liquids (RTIL) was a candidate in the pretreatment of cellulose which could reduce the crystalline degrees efficiently by dissolving and regenerating of them. But, due to the drawbacks of high cost and low dissolving rate, RTIL is not an acceptable solvent in the industrial process.
Prof. FANG Zhen and his research team of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) carried out a study to evaluate the pretreatment effectiveness of dissolution and subsequent regeneration of cellulose in an ‘organic electrolyte solutions (OES) for enzymatic hydrolysis.
Their study demonstrated, for the first time, that organic electrolyte solution (OES) constituted with RTIL and polar organic solvents can be introduced into the pretreatment of microcrystal cellulose.
Their work indicated that: processing by OES can (i) save on expensive ionic liquids, (ii) minimize dissolving times, (iii) require lower energy inputs for stirring and transporting, and (iv) are environmentally friendly. Employing of OES can be a promising green approach in the pretreatment.
The research entitled “Pretreatment of Microcrystalline Cellulose in Organic Electrolyte Solutions for Enzymatic Hydrolysis” has been published in Biotechnology for Biofuels. 2011, 4:53 doi:10.1186/1754-6834-4-53
(Image by Tian Xiaofei)