Author(s): Lucas M, Macdonald BA, Wagner GL, Joyce SA, Rector KD
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Abstract Lignocellulosic biomass offers economic and environmental advantages over corn starch for biofuels production. However, its fractionation currently requires energy-intensive pretreatments, due to the lignin chemical resistance and complex cell wall structure. Recently, ionic liquids have been used to dissolve biomass at high temperatures. In this study, thin sections of poplar wood were swollen by ionic liquid (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate) pretreatment at room temperature. The samples contract when rinsed with deionized water. The controlled expansion and contraction of the wood structure can be used to incorporate enzymes and catalysts deep into the wood structure for improved pretreatments and accelerated cellulose hydrolysis. As a proof of concept, silver and gold nanoparticles of diameters ranging from 20 to 100 nm were incorporated at depths up to 4 mum. Confocal surface-enhanced Raman images at different depths show that a significant number of nanoparticles were incorporated into the pretreated sample, and they remained on the samples after rinsing. Quantitative X-ray fluorescence microanalyses indicate that the majority of nanoparticle incorporation occurs after an ionic liquid pretreatment of less than 1 h. In addition to improved pretreatments, the incorporation of materials and chemicals into wood and paper products enables isotope tracing, development of new sensing, and imaging capabilities.
This article was published in ACS Appl Mater Interfaces
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology