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Wood Research and Technology


Cellulose – Hemicelluloses – Lignin – Wood Extractives

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Volume 67, Issue 1


Steam pretreatment for enzymatic hydrolysis of poplar wood: comparison of optimal conditions with and without SO2 impregnation

Fokko Schütt
  • Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut (vTI), Leuschnerstr. 91B, 21031 Hamburg, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Nils Peter Haas / Laura Dehne / Gerald Koch
  • Institute of Wood Technology and Wood Biology, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut (vTI), Leuschnerstr. 91B, 21031 Hamburg, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ron Janzon / Bodo Saake
Published Online: 2012-06-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2012-0076


Steam refining of non-debarked poplar wood with SO2 impregnation prior to steaming was investigated as pretreatment for enzymatic hydrolysis. Pretreatment conditions were varied in the range of 170°C–220°C, 3–30 min and 0.7–2.5% SO2 according to a factorial design. Predicted steaming conditions for highest carbohydrate yields after enzymatic hydrolysis were at 200°C, 15 min, and 2.5% SO2. The yield of glucose and xylose from control tests under these conditions was 43% representing an increase of 9% compared to results of former experiments without SO2 impregnation. Investigations on lignin extracted from the fibers revealed no distinct differences between pretreatment with and without SO2. No sulfonation occurred by the impregnation with SO2. Topochemical analyses of the fibers by cellular UV microspectrophotometry (UMSP) showed an inhomogeneous lignin distribution within the S2 of fibers after pretreatment without SO2 and local depositions of high UV-absorbing substances in the lumina of fibers and parenchyma cells. The lignin distribution of fiber cell walls after pretreatment with SO2 was more homogeneous with a preserved fiber network and only little amounts of deposited phenolic compounds in the lumina. Therefore, it might be concluded that the expulsion of lignin hinders the enzymes in accessing the cellulose.

Keywords: enzymatic hydrolysis; poplar; SO2 impregnation; steam refining; UV microspectrophotometry

About the article

Corresponding author Department of Wood Science, University of Hamburg, Leuschnerstr. 91B, 21031 Hamburg, Germany

Received: 2012-05-07

Accepted: 2012-06-05

Published Online: 2012-06-29

Published in Print: 2013-01-01

Citation Information: , Volume 67, Issue 1, Pages 9–17, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2012-0076.

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