Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.): Extraction of Shikimic Acid Coupled to Dilute Acid Pretreatment


Liquidambar styraciflua L., also known as sweetgum, is an understory hardwood species that has widespread distribution in the southeast USA, especially in pine plantations. In addition to being a possible biorefinery feedstock, sweetgum contains shikimic acid, which is a precursor for the drug Tamiflu®. Sweetgum bark was extracted with 65 °C water and yielded 1.7 mg/g of shikimic acid, while sweetgum de-barked wood yielded 0.2 mg/g of shikimic acid. Because shikimic acid can be extracted with water, the coupling of the phytochemical hot water extraction with dilute acid pretreatment was examined. The addition of a 65 °C shikimic acid extraction step coupled to pretreatment with 0.98% H2SO4 at 130 °C for 50 min resulted in 21% and 17% increases in xylose percent recovery from bark and de-barked wood, respectively. These results indicate that, in addition to recovering a high value product, the 65 °C wash step also increases xylose recovery.

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The authors would like to thank the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering for financial assistance. The authors would also like to acknowledge National Science Foundation award #0828875; Department of Energy award #08GO88035 for pretreatment equipment and support of EMM; and, CSREES National Research Initiative award # 2008-01499 for the HPLC instrument.

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Correspondence to Danielle Julie Carrier.

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Martin, E., Duke, J., Pelkki, M. et al. Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.): Extraction of Shikimic Acid Coupled to Dilute Acid Pretreatment. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 162, 1660–1668 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12010-010-8947-7

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  • Extraction
  • Pretreatment
  • Shikimic acid
  • Water
  • Dilute acid
  • Sweetgum