(619c) Exploring the Impact of Cellulose Accessibility on Lignocellulosic Hydrolysis Using a Modified Simons' Staining Assay and a 1-Methylimidazole Pretreatment Process

Authors: 
Kwok, T., Georgia Institute of Technology
Kang, Y., Georgia Institute of Technology
Realff, M. J., Georgia Institute of Technology
Bommarius, A. S., Georgia Institute of Technology

To understand and enhance cellulose biodegradation, it is crucial to determine how a pretreatment method affects cellulose accessibility.  Simons’ staining is a simple technique to quantify cellulose accessibility using direct dyes.  However, the uncertainty around the availability of traditional dyes, Direct Orange 15 and Direct Blue 1, has created the need for alternative probes.  In this work, we demonstrate the use of Direct Yellow 11 as an alternative probe in a modified Simons’ staining method.  With this modified Simons’ staining method, we are able to characterize the accessibility of a 1-Methylimidazole (MI) pretreatment process.  MI is a potential biomass pretreatment chemical that removes lignin and dramatically increases hydrolysis rates at ambient conditions and short times.  Here we elucidate how MI pretreatment affects both the crystallinity and accessibility of cellulose.  This work provides measurable criteria for other organic solvent pretreatments, and it will guide future efforts towards environmental, economical, and effective pretreatment methods.

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