The ubiquitous nature of lignocellulosic biomass on planet earth and its economic viability attracted a great deal of attention from researchers and becomes foremost feedstock for biofuel production particularly bioethanol. However, due to complexity in structure, its pretreatment is essentially required prior to actual use. In the present study, a promising approach has been proposed through the development of acid-functionalized magnetic nanocatalysts. Two different acid-functionalized magnetic nanocatalysts i.e. alkylsulfonic acid functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4-MNPs-Si-AS) and butylcarboxylic acid functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4-MNPs-Si-BCOOH) were developed and their efficacy was studied in the pretreatment of sugarcane straw at varying concentrations (100, 200, 300, 400, 500 mg/g of straw). The enhanced concentration dependent production of sugar (xylose) was reported in case of both the nanocatalysts. The maximum 17.06 g/L for Fe3O4-MNPs-Si-AS and 15.40 g/L for Fe3O4-MNPs-Si-BCOOH sugar was reported at 500 mg which is comparatively higher than normal acid (H2SO4) (14.63 g/L) and non-treated (0.24 g/L) sugarcane straw. Further, both the nanocatalysts were recovered by applying an external magnetic field and reused for the next two subsequent cycles of pretreatment. It was observed that with every reuse of nanocatalysts the concentration of sugar production was reduced. Moreover, generation of very less amount of toxic inhibitors was reported in the hemicellulosic hydrolyzate obtained in the present study. Considering these facts, it is believed that such nanocatalysts can be used as an effective, eco-friendly and economically viable alternative to the conventional pretreatment agents like mineral acids.
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API is highly thankful to Research Council for the State of Sao Paulo (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo—FAPESP), Brazil for providing financial assistance (Process No. 2016/22086-2) in the form of Post-Doctoral Fellowship. RRP is grateful to Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq) for post-doctoral fellowship (Process No. 153169/2018-4). YCSM is also grateful to FAPESP for providing financial assistance for scientific initiation scholarship program (Process No. 2019/19695-5). SSS is thankful to CNPq (Process No. 303943/2017-3) and FAPESP (Process No. 2016/10636-8) for providing research grants.
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Ingle, A.P., Philippini, R.R., de Souza Melo, Y.C. et al. Acid-functionalized magnetic nanocatalysts mediated pretreatment of sugarcane straw: an eco-friendly and cost-effective approach. Cellulose (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-020-03262-y
- Acid functionalized magnetic nanoparticles
- Lignocellulosic biomass
- Sugarcane straw