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Open AccessArticle

Co-Production of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Fermentable Sugars Assisted by Endoglucanase Treatment of Wood Pulp

1
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada
2
Biomass Conversion and Processing Technologies, InnoTech Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6N 1E4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(9), 1645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11091645
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
In this study, fermentable sugars and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were co-produced from endoglucanase treatment of wood pulp, followed by acid hydrolysis. Enzymatic hydrolysis was performed using two endoglucanases differentiated by the presence or absence of a cellulose-binding domain (CBD). The enzyme with an intact CBD gave the higher glucan conversion (up to 14.1 ± 1.2 wt %) and improved the degree of crystallinity of the recovered wood pulp fiber (up to 83.0 ± 1.0%). Thus, this endoglucanase-assisted treatment successfully removed amorphous content from the original cellulosic feedstock. CNC recovery (16.9 ± 0.7 wt %) from the feedstock going into the acid hydrolysis was improved relative to untreated pulp (13.2 ± 0.6 wt %). The mass loss from enzymatic treatment did not cause a decrease in the CNC yield from the starting material. The characteristics of CNCs obtained through acid hydrolysis (with or without enzyme treatment of pulp) were analyzed using X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry as characterization techniques. The CNCs generated through acid hydrolysis of endoglucanase-treated wood pulp displayed comparable properties relative to those generated using untreated pulp. Thus, endoglucanase treatment can enable co-production of CNCs and sugars for biofuel fermentation. View Full-Text
Keywords: cellulose nanocrystals; endoglucanase treatment; acid hydrolysis; wood pulp; degree of crystallinity; fermentable sugars cellulose nanocrystals; endoglucanase treatment; acid hydrolysis; wood pulp; degree of crystallinity; fermentable sugars
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Dai, J.; Chae, M.; Beyene, D.; Danumah, C.; Tosto, F.; Bressler, D.C. Co-Production of Cellulose Nanocrystals and Fermentable Sugars Assisted by Endoglucanase Treatment of Wood Pulp. Materials 2018, 11, 1645.

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