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Bioresource Technology, Vol.289, 2019
One-pot selective conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into furfural and co-products using aqueous choline chloride/methyl isobutyl ketone biphasic solvent system
This study investigated simultaneous lignocellulose fractionation and conversion in a one-pot reaction using an aqueous choline chloride/methyl isobutyl ketone (ChCl/MIBK) biphasic solvent system. Under the optimized condition (170 degrees C, 60 min, 0.6 wt% H2SO4, 10.7 wt% solid loading), the biphasic solvent solubilized 96% xylan in raw switchgrass, which was simultaneously converted to furfural with a yield of 84.04%. The biphasic solvent was also able to selectively extract lignin, which had a high purity (93.1%), and uncondensed moieties (i.e., Hibbert's ketone), as well as decreased molecular weight and polydispersity index. The resultant pulp was enriched with cellulose (73.3%), which can be completely hydrolyzed into glucose within 48 h via enzymatic hydrolysis. Aqueous ChCl was successfully recycled and reused for atleast three cycles with similar performance in switchgrass fractionation. This study demonstrated that aqueous ChCl/MIBK biphasic system was an effective solvent system for co-production of furfural, high quality technical lignin and digestible cellulose for further upgrading.