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01.06.2012 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2012

Cellulose 3/2012

Adding value to the Brazilian sisal: acid hydrolysis of its pulp seeking production of sugars and materials

Zeitschrift:
Cellulose > Ausgabe 3/2012
Autoren:
Mauricio P. de Paula, Talita M. Lacerda, Márcia D. Zambon, Elisabete Frollini

Abstract

The present work is inserted into the broad context of the upgrading of lignocellulosic fibers. Sisal was chosen in the present study because more than 50% of the world’s sisal is cultivated in Brazil, it has a short life cycle and its fiber has a high cellulose content. Specifically, in the present study, the subject addressed was the hydrolysis of the sisal pulp, using sulfuric acid as the catalyst. To assess the influence of parameters such as the concentration of the sulfuric acid and the temperature during this process, the pulp was hydrolyzed with various concentrations of sulfuric acid (30–50%) at 70 °C and with 30% acid (v/v) at various temperatures (60–100 °C). During hydrolysis, aliquots were withdrawn from the reaction media, and the solid (non-hydrolyzed pulp) was separated from the liquid (liquor) by filtering each aliquot. The sugar composition of the liquor was analyzed by HPLC, and the non-hydrolyzed pulps were characterized by viscometry (average molar mass), and X-ray diffraction (crystallinity). The results support the following conclusions: acid hydrolysis using 30% H2SO4 at 100 °C can produce sisal microcrystalline cellulose and the conditions that led to the largest glucose yield and lowest decomposition rate were 50% H2SO4 at 70 °C. In summary, the study of sisal pulp hydrolysis using concentrated acid showed that certain conditions are suitable for high recovery of xylose and good yield of glucose. Moreover, the unreacted cellulose can be targeted for different applications in bio-based materials. A kinetic study based on the glucose yield was performed for all reaction conditions using the kinetic model proposed by Saeman. The results showed that the model adjusted to all 30–35% H2SO4 reactions but not to greater concentrations of sulfuric acid. The present study is part of an ongoing research program, and the results reported here will be used as a comparison against the results obtained when using treated sisal pulp as the starting material.

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