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Nanostructural Evolution of Sugarcane Rind and Pith Submitted to Hydrothermal Pretreatments

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Lignocellulose conversion into cellulosic ethanol and coproducts starts with a pretreatment step. Most current industrial plants of cellulosic ethanol use thermochemical pretreatments under hydrothermal conditions, with or without addition of acid catalyst. Such pretreatments modify biomass chemistry and morphology, particularly at the nanoscale. In this work, we use X-ray diffraction, dynamic vapor sorption and calorimetric thermoporometry to investigate the biomass nanostructural changes promoted by hydrothermal conditions. We compare and differentiate the rind and pith fractions of sugarcane stalks in order to contribute to the understanding of rind-pith contrasting recalcitrance. Moreover, for both cane fractions our results point consistently to cellulose co-crystallization, lignin aggregation, and opening of nanoscale pores as the main nanostructural phenomena occurring during hydrothermal treatments.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2018

This article was made available online on 05 September 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Nanostructural Evolution of Sugarcane Rind and Pith Submitted to Hydrothermal Pretreatments".

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