, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 653-664
Date: 05 Dec 2013

Characterization of sugarcane bagasse by autofluorescence microscopy

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Abstract

The spatial distribution of chemical compounds in sugarcane bagasse is an important issue in its use as a raw material for second generation ethanol production from cellulose hydrolysis. Lignocellulosic materials including whole bagasse, fiber, pith, and respective samples obtained after chemical bleaching were investigated using confocal fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy with one and two-photon excitation. Autofluorescence from unbleached samples revealed that emission from fiber walls containing the lignin fraction was longitudinally oriented. After bleaching treatment, the oriented emission was partially disrupted. Autofluorescence from bleached samples with a residual lignin content of about 1 % was ascribed to improved dispersion of remaining fluorophores throughout the samples inducing a concomitant reduction of fluorescence self-quenching in the samples. The combination of autofluorescence images with spectral emission and lifetime measurements provides a tool for microscopic characterization of natural bagasse samples. Moreover, the technique allows monitoring bleaching processes related to lignin removal.