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Utilization of Core Oil Palm Trunk Waste to Methyl Levulinate: Physical and Chemical Characterizations


Core oil palm trunk (COPT) is a lignocellulosic waste that poses as an alternative carbon source in bio-chemical and bio-fuel production. The bulk of free sugar present in its sap renders COPT as a potential starting material in the synthesis of methyl levulinate (ML). In this study, the effect of different sap extractions on COPT and synthesised methyl levulinate respectively was analysed. COPT sap was extracted using two different methods of blending and pressing, followed by the methanolysis reaction. The high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) results for both extraction methods have revealed that glucose is the primary sugar found in the sap. However, the total sugar concentration obtained from the pressing extraction method was found to be higher at 22.14 g/L, compared to blending extraction method at 20.23 g/L. Meanwhile, synthesized methyl levulinate was identified from the methanolysis of COPT sap in all type of catalysts (i.e. 0.5 M HCl, 1 M HCl, 0.5 M H2SO4 and 1 M H2SO4). It is worth noting that the isolated and highest concentration of methyl levulinate was obtained when catalysed by 1 M H2SO4 and can be clearly seen on the NMR spectrum.

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This research was funded by research grants FRGS/1/2014/SG01/UKM/02/3 and GGPM-2014-037. Thanks to the Ministry of High Education of Malaysia by providing scholarship under program MyBrain15.

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Correspondence to Sharifah Nabihah Syed Jaafar.

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Abu Jahar, N., Pua, Fl., Chyi, W.J. et al. Utilization of Core Oil Palm Trunk Waste to Methyl Levulinate: Physical and Chemical Characterizations. Waste Biomass Valor 10, 655–660 (2019).

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  • Cellulose
  • Extraction
  • Free sugars
  • Methyl levulinate