(639e) One-Step Fermentable Sugar Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass Via Soluble Magnesium Salt-Based Catalyst

Authors: 
Wang, Q., Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Qi, X., Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ma, Y., Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Zhang, Y., Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
One of the main obstacles for the effective utilization of lignocellulosic biomass is the considerably high cost for their deconstruction and hydrolysis to release simple soluble sugars. Cost-effectively converting biomass to sugar not only could reduce overall cost of the biomass-to-fuel production; but also might facilitate subsequent conversions of biomass to other biobased products. Both catalytic and enzymatic methods have been developed for biomass-to-sugar conversions, but many of them require additional steps. Here, in this study, a novel strategy for one-step lignocellulosic biomass-to-sugar conversion via soluble salt-based catalyst system was reported. Based on investigating the salt-base materials and their catalytic effects on C-C and C-O bond cleavages, we identified a class of soluble magnesium salt-based catalysts to facilitate biomass deconstruction and hydrolysis technology by directly conversing hemicellulose and cellulose in lignocellulosic biomass to soluble fermentable sugar under the mild acidic condition (pH = 4.3 ~ 5.0) at temperature range 180 ~ 250 0C. In comparison to conventional concentrated or dilute sulfuric acid process, our technologies have several superior advantages: (1) It is one step to break down lignocellulosic biomasses and to catalytically form sugars, so it does not require enzyme for hydrolysis and it is therefore characterized as a single step mild-acid catalytic process; (2) We can easily control catalyst acidities and phase behaviors by varying catalyst compositions and reaction temperatures. This could facilitate product separations and reduce wastewater environmental concerns; (3) Our studies of ethanol fermentation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae shown that our catalysts did not have significant effect on cell growth and ethanol production, therefore, they have great potentials to be integrated with downstream application platforms such as bioconversion of sugar to ethanol or other biobased products. (4) The main catalyst composition of our catalysts, MgCl2, is extremely cheap (less than $100 USD/ton), which is essential for the development of the cost-effective processes. In view of these advantages, we believe our developing catalyst systems possess great technical values for effective biomass utilization and demand in-depth studies for their commercialization feasibilities.
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