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Abstract

Kinetic experiments for the hydrolytic depolymerization of cellobiose and amylose were performed in acidic medium. In the case of amylose, only the production rate of glucose was monitored. Then, a Monte Carlo procedure was developed to simulate long-chain saccharide acid hydrolysis using the kinetic information obtained from the model compound, cellobiose. This stochastic procedure, which is applicable to the homogeneous acid hydrolysis of highly amorphous polysaccharides of sufficient degree of polymerization, provides estimated curves for the time evolution of all intermediate products. Literature data on the hydrolysis of oligoxylans were also compared to the results obtained from the Monte Carlo procedure. The depolymerization of linear polysaccharides, which should normally be viewed as a nonhomogeneous Markov chain, could be considered as a homogeneous Markov chain, provided that the chain is visited at specifically determined time intervals.