Carbohydrate polymers

Nanocrystalline cellulose extraction process and utilization of the byproduct for biofuels production.

PMID 23465941


Cellulose consists of amorphous and crystalline regions. It is the crystalline regions which may be exploited to produce nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC). In order to extract nanocrystalline cellulose from native cellulose, sulfuric acid hydrolysis is typically used. The amorphous regions of cellulose are hydrolyzed and degraded into soluble products while the crystalline regions remain intact. In an effort to make the NCC extraction process more feasible, a new process was developed to recover and utilize the hydrolyzed regions of cellulose as a byproduct. The acid hydrolyzed amorphous regions were separated and then recovered (regenerated) into solid particles. XRD data revealed that the recovered material is characteristic of cellulose II. Hydrolysis conditions were optimized to maximize the yield of the recovered material and at the same time produce NCC material. Preliminary experiments showed yield values of approximately 61% for the cellulose I crystalline portions and values of about 21.7% for the recovered material (cellulose II). Enzymatic hydrolysis experiments of the recovered material revealed high susceptibility to enzymatic hydrolysis which makes it a promising source for biofuels production.