Pseudo-lignin induced by high-severity dilute acid treatment of lignocellulose has been widely studied because of its detrimental effect on enzymatic hydrolysis. However, cooling-induced pseudo-lignin (CIPL) formed during the cooling process after treatment has always been ignored and never been characterized systematically. To investigate the formation and chemistry of CIPL, liquid hot water treatments of poplar wood were conducted. Samples of treated wood and hydrolysate were taken out from digester at various temperatures during the cooling process for characterization. SEM images evidenced a progressive deposition of CIPL on the surface of the treated wood during cooling process with a yield of 19.6 mg/g treated wood. However, the treated wood which was collected isothermally at reaction temperature showed no pseudo-lignin. Variation of organic compounds in hydrolysate from lignocellulose degradation during cooling process revealed that depolymerized lignin and furfural accounted for 80.4 and 10.6 % of CIPL, respectively, while soluble saccharides from carbohydrate hydrolysis were independent from CIPL formation. These findings stress the importance of isothermal separation of treated wood and hydrolysate. Otherwise, CIPL should hinder enzymatic hydrolysis for biofuels production or delignification for cellulosic fiber production.
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