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A novel mineral-acid free biphasic deep eutectic solvent/γ-valerolactone system for furfural production and boosting the enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass

by Arthur J Ragauskas, Xianzhi Meng
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Bioresource Technology
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The failure of hemicellulose valorization in a deep eutectic solvent (DES) pretreatment has become a bottleneck that challenges its further development. To address this issue, this study developed a DES/GVL (γ-valerolactone) biphasic system for effective hemicellulose-furfural conversion, enhanced cellulose saccharification and lignin isolation. The results indicated that the biphasic system could significantly improve the lignin removal (as high as 89.1%), 86.0% higher than the monophasic DES, accompanied by ∼100% hemicellulose degradation. Notably, the GVL in the biphasic solvent restricted the condensation of hemicellulose degradation products, which as a result generated large amount of furfural in the pretreatment liquid with a yield of 68.6%. With the removal of hemicellulose and lignin, cellulose enzymatic hydrolysis yield was boosted and reached near 100%. This study highlighted that the novel DES/GVL is capable of fractionating the biomass and benefiting their individual utilization, which could provide a new biorefinery configuration for a DES pretreatment.