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Saccharification of cellulose by dry pyrolysis


Pyrolysis of cellulose was studied for the purpose of practical production of 1,6-anhydro-β-D-glucopyranoside (levoglucosan, LG). To minimize secondary degradation of levoglucosan, two methods were examined: (1) conductive heating by glass bottle, and (2) radiation heating from the surface by CO2 laser beam, both under vacuum and in a nitrogen atmosphere. Glass-bottle pyrolysis under vacuum gave levoglucosan yield of 50%–55% in the optimum temperature range of 350°–410°C, where placing the cold trap in the vicinity of heated area was effective in improving the yield. In contrast, glass-bottle pyrolysis under nitrogen gave low yields of 17%–20%, probably due to slower diffusion of pyrolysis product from hot region. The CO2 laser pyrolysis under vacuum gave the product as aerosol (white smoke), causing difficulty in recovery of the product, and the maximum yield was 5%–17%. In this case the treatment under nitrogen flow was effective for recovery of aerosol, and the maximum yield reached approximately 25%.


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Correspondence to Shigenori Kuga.

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Kwon, G., Kuga, S., Hori, K. et al. Saccharification of cellulose by dry pyrolysis. J Wood Sci 52, 461–465 (2006).

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Key words

  • Cellulose
  • Pyrolysis
  • Levoglucosan
  • 1,6-Anhydro-β-D-glucopyranoside
  • CO2 laser