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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

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Two-step hydrolysis of Japanese beech as treated by semi-flow hot-compressed water

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A two-step hydrolysis of Japanese beech (Fagus crenata) was conducted by semi-flow treatment with hot-compressed water. The first treatment stage was conducted at 230°C/10 MPa for 15 min and the second at 270°C/10 MPa for 15 min. Hemicellulose and lignin were found to be hydrolyzed in the first stage, while crystalline cellulose was hydrolyzed in the second stage. The treatment solubilized 95.6% of the Japanese beech wood flour into water with 4.4% remaining as water-insoluble residue, which was composed mainly of lignin. Hydrolysis products from the first stage were xylose and xylo-oligosaccharides, glucuronic acid and acetic acid from O-acetyl-4-O-methylglucuronoxylan, and hydrolyzed monomeric guaiacyl and syringyl units and their dimeric condensed-type units from lignin. Products from the second hydrolysis stage were glucose and cello-oligosaccharides from cellulose. The dehydrated products levoglucosan, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), and furfural, as well as fragmented products glycolaldehyde, methylglyoxal, and erythrose, were recovered in the first stage from hemicellulose, and to a greater extent in the second stage from cellulose. Furthermore, organic acids such as glycolic, formic, acetic, and lactic acids were recovered in both stages. Based on these lines of evidence, decomposition pathways of O-acetyl-4-O-methylglucuronoxylan and cellulose are independently proposed.


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Author information

Correspondence to Shiro Saka.

Additional information

This study was presented in part at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Japan Institute of Energy, Tokyo, August 2008, and at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Japan Wood Research Society, Matsumoto, March 15–17, 2009

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Lu, X., Yamauchi, K., Phaiboonsilpa, N. et al. Two-step hydrolysis of Japanese beech as treated by semi-flow hot-compressed water. J Wood Sci 55, 367–375 (2009) doi:10.1007/s10086-009-1040-6

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Key words

  • Japanese beech
  • Hot-compressed water
  • Hemicellulose
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin