Wood delignification with aqueous solutions of deep eutectic solvents


The development of a sustainable wood fractionation has been a goal for the pulp and paper industries to develop a bioeconomy. The use of green solvents, in particular deep eutectic solvents (DES) has been explored to accomplish such goal. This work unveils the potential of DES aqueous solutions (at 50 wt% water content) as green solvents for the Eucalyptus globulus Labill. wood delignification. Aqueous solutions of propionic acid:urea PA:U (2:1), urea:choline chloride U:Ch[Cl] (2:1), lactic acid:choline chloride LA:Ch[Cl] (10:1) and p-toluenesulfonic acid:choline chloride PTSA:Ch[Cl] (1:1) were investigated. The delignification process was assisted by the addition of mineral (H2SO4 and HCl) or organic (PTSA) acids to efficiently promote wood matrix disruption and further lignin extraction. This process enabled solid pulp and lignin as separated fractions, which were characterized by analytical, optical and spectrometric methods. The influence of each DES on the morphology of cellulose fibers in solid pulp and the chemical structure of isolated lignin fractions was evaluated. The best system allowing delignification while preserving the cellulose fibers (comparable to Kraft cellulose pulp) and lignin structure was PA:U (2:1) aqueous solution with 25 wt% PTSA. A mild wood delignification process (363.15 K for 8 h) using this DES allowed to obtain a cellulose pulp yielding 59.50 +/- 0.51 wt% of the initial wood mass and containing only 3.86 +/- 0.10 wt% residual Klason lignin content. This innovative approach led to 80.64 wt% lignin extraction from E. globulus wood at mild conditions showing its potential for industrial application. Furthermore, 40.73 wt% of the initial lignin was recovered from DES liquor by a simple precipitation with water.




Agricultural Engineering; Agronomy


Soares, B; Lopes, AMD; Silvestre, AJD; Pinto, PCR; Freire, CSR; Coutinho, JAP

nossos autores


This work is financed by Portugal 2020 through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the frame of Operational Competitiveness and Internationalization Programme (POCI) in the scope of the project MultiBiorefinery - POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016403 and of the projects CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology/MCTES, and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. The authors wish to thank FCT and the Navigator Co. for the Ph.D. grant (SFRH/BDE/103257/2014) of Belinda Soares.

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