Comparative study on pretreatment processes for different utilization purposes of switchgrass

Fan Wang, Dongxiang Shi, Ju Han, Ge Zhang, Xinglin Jiang, Mingjun Yang, Zhenying Wu, Chunxiang Fu, Zhihao Li, Mo Xian, Haibo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, L., Poaceae) with the advantages of high cellulose yield, and high growth even under low input and poor soil quality, has been identified as a promising candidate for production of low-cost biofuels, papermaking, and nanocellulose. In this study, 12 chemical pretreatments on a laboratory scale were compared for different utilization purposes of switchgrass. It was found that the pretreated switchgrass with sodium hydroxide showed considerable potential for providing mixed sugars for fermentation with 11.10% of residual lignin, 53.85% of residual cellulose, and 22.06% of residual hemicellulose. The pretreatment with 2.00% (v/v) nitric acid was the best method to remove 78.37% of hemicellulose and 39.82% of lignin under a low temperature (125 °C, 30 min), which can be used in the production of nanocellulose. Besides, a completely randomized design analysis of switchgrass pretreatments provided the alternative ethanol organosolv delignification of switchgrass for the papermaking industry with a high residual cellulose of 58.56%. Finally, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were carried out to confirm the changes in functional groups, crystallinity, and thermal behavior of the three materials, respectively, from the optimal pretreatments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Omega
Volume5
Issue number35
Pages (from-to)21999-22007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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