A multiscale approach to understanding lignocellulosic biomass recalcitrance

A multiscale approach to understanding lignocellulosic biomass recalcitrance

A multiscale approach to understanding lignocellulosic biomass recalcitrance

Biomass recalcitrance is a key issue for the development of low-cost and sustainable biorefineries. Indeed, the recalcitrance conferred by the complex structure and composition of lignocellulose limits conversion by biochemical means of many lignocellulosic resources such the by-products of maize cultivation ( stalks, leaves). One of the most widely used strategies to overcome biomass recalcitrance is the apllication of pretreatment technologies. Optimising pretreatment technologies requires an understanding of how the structure of these parietal polymers and their organisation influence the recalcitrance and nature of the changes induced by pretreatments.

To understand the nature of the interactions of the polymers, complementary techniques were used, including compositional, spectral and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses of native and hydrothermally pretreated maize stalk samples.
In addition to the removal of hemicellulose (expected effect), pretreatment induces a loss of amorphous cellulose and structural changes in lignins. Our results  also show that the environment and the organisation of the lignin are important factors to consider in addition to its composition to explain recalcitance capacity.
These changes at the molecular level induce modifications in cell wall organisation through increased porosity and accessibility to cellulose. This leads to a redistribution of water, which supports the diffusion and efficiency of hydrolytic enzymes.
The combination of NMR analysis techniques has been shown to be of interest in studying the environment of cellulose to explain accessibility. Consequently, using the same multiscale approach on other types of lignocellulosic biomass will make it possible to optimise pretreatment and saccharification processes, and in the medium term, contribute to the development of new low-cost and sustainable bioreffineries.

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Modification date : 11 September 2023 | Publication date : 26 December 2022 | Redactor : MW