Characterization of degradation products from alkaline wet oxidation of wheat straw

H.B. Klinke, B.K. Ahring, A.S. Schmidt, A.B. Thomsen

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    Alkaline wet oxidation pre-treatment (water, sodium carbonate, oxygen, high temperature and pressure) of wheat straw was performed as a 2(4-1) fractional factorial design with the process parameters: temperature, reaction time, sodium carbonate and oxygen. Alkaline wet oxidation was an efficient pre-treatment of wheat straw that resulted in solid fractions with high cellulose recovery (96%) and high enzymatic convertibility to glucose (67%). Carbonate and temperature were the most important factors for fractionation of wheat straw by wet oxidation. Optimal conditions were 10 min at 195 degreesC with addition of 12 bar oxygen and 6.5 g l(-1) Na2CO3. At these conditions the hemicellulose fraction from 100 g straw consisted of soluble hemicellulose (16 g), low molecular weight carboxylic acids (11 g), monomeric phenols (0.48 g) and 2-furoic acid (0.01 g). Formic acid and acetic acid constituted the majority of degradation products (8.5 g). The main phenol monomers were 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillin, syringaldehyde, acetosyringone (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxy-acetophenone), vanillic acid and syringic acid, occurring in 0.04-0.12 g per 100 g straw concentrations. High lignin removal from the solid fraction (62%) did not provide a corresponding increase in the phenol monomer content but was correlated to high carboxylic acid concentrations. The degradation products in the hemicellulose fractions co-varied with the pre-treatment conditions in the principal component analysis according to their chemical structure, e.g. diacids (oxalic and succinic acids), furan aldehydes, phenol aldehydes, phenol ketones and phenol acids. Aromatic aldehyde formation was correlated to severe conditions with high temperatures and low pH. Apart from CO2 and water, carboxylic acids were the main degradation products from hemicellulose and lignin.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBioresource Technology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)15-26
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


    • wet oxidation
    • wheat straw
    • lignin
    • phenols
    • GC-MS
    • carboxylic acids
    • furans

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