May 11, 2010

Midwest Biopolymers & Biocomposites Workshop


Poster Abstracts

108: Pretreatment and Fractionation of Corn Stover using Zinc Chloride and Aqueous ammonia

Chang Geun Yoo and Tae Hyun Kim

Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

A novel fractionation method of corn stover was investigated to produce cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. In this method, ZnCl2 was used to hydrolyze the hemicellulose into xylooligomer in the first stage and cellulose hydrolysis using cellulase enzyme in the second stage. The remaining solid thus contains mostly lignin. We found that ZnCl2 has high selectivity for hemicellulose hydrolysis (70-80%), while it retained most of the lignin and cellulose (>97%) with the solid. Each of the separated components can be used for the production of value-added chemicals using either biological or chemical conversions since they are recovered in a highly pure form. Remaining solids after fractionation were highly digestible to commercial cellulase enzymes because the fractionation process removes hemicellulose in the earlier stages. The effects of process conditions on the compositional changes of corn stover were tested. The enzymatic digestibility tests were conducted for corn stover treated under various conditions. Other technical aspects pertinent to development of the fractionation process will be presented.