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New lignocellulose pretreatments using cellulose solvents: a review

Authors

  • Noppadon Sathitsuksanoh,

    1. Biological Systems Engineering Department, 210-A Seitz Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
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    • Present address: Joint BioEnergy Institute, Deconstruction Division, Emeryville, CA, 94608, USA

  • Anthe George,

    1. Joint BioEnergy Institute, Deconstruction Division, Emeryville, CA, USA
    2. Sandia National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA
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  • Y-H Percival Zhang

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS) Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
    2. Gate Fuels Inc, Blacksburg, VA, USA
    • Biological Systems Engineering Department, 210-A Seitz Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
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Correspondence to: Y-H Percival Zhang, Biological Systems Engineering

Department,210-A Seitz Hall, Virginia Tech,Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.E-mail:

ypzhang@vt.edu

Abstract

Non-food lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant renewable bioresource as a collectable, transportable, and storable chemical energy that is far from fully utilized. The goal of biomass pretreatment is to improve the enzymatic digestibility of pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. Many substrate factors, such as substrate accessibility, lignin content, particle size and so on, contribute to its recalcitrance. Cellulose accessibility to hydrolytic enzymes is believed to be the most important substrate characteristic limiting enzymatic hydrolysis. Cellulose solvents effectively break linkages among cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and also dissolve highly-ordered hydrogen bonds in cellulose fibers accompanied with great increases in substrate accessibility. Here the history and recent advances in cellulose solvent-based biomass pretreatment are reviewed and perspectives provided for addressing remaining challenges. The use of cellulose solvents, new and existing, provides opportunities for emerging biorefineries to produce a few precursors (e.g. monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and lignin) for the production of low-value biofuels and value-added biochemicals. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

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