, Volume 51-52, Issue 1, pp 97-104

Xylan hydrolysis in zinc chloride solution

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Abstract

Xylan is the major component of hemicellulose, which consists of up to one-third of the lignocellulosic biomass. When the zinc chloride solution was used as a pretreatment agent to facilitate cellulose hydrolysis, hemicellulose was hydrolyzed during the pretreatment stage. In this study, xylan was used as a model to study the hydrolysis of hemicellulose in zinc chloride solution. The degradation of xylose that is released from xylan was reduced by the formation of zinc-xylose complex. The xylose yield was >90% (w/w) at 70°C. The yield and rate of hydrolysis were a function of temperature and the concentration of zinc chloride. The ratio of zinc chloride can be decreased from 9 to 1.3 (w/w). At this ratio, 76% of xylose yield was obtained. When wheat straw was pretreated with a concentrated zinc chloride solution, the hemicellulose hydrolysate contained only xylose and trace amounts of arabinose and oligosaccharides. With this approach, the hemicellulose hydrolysate can be separated from cellulose residue, which would be hydrolyzed subsequently to glucose by acid or enzymes to produce glucose. This production scheme provided a method to produce glucose and xylose in different streams, which can be fermented in separated fermenters.