Authors: Lavarda, G; Morales-delaRosa, S; Centomo, P; Campos-Martin, JM; Zecca, M; Fierro, JLG

Catalysts. vol: 9. page: .
Date: AUG. 2019.
Doi: 10.3390/catal9080675.

Several sulfonated cross-linked copolymers functionalized with hydroxyl and carboxylic groups have been synthesized. The amount of the cross-linking monomer was tailored (from 4% up to 40%) to tune the resulting micro- and nano-morphologies, and two types of catalysts, namely, gel-type and macroreticular catalysts, were obtained. These copolymers were employed in the catalytic hydrolysis of wheat straw pretreated in 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate to obtain sugars. Remarkably, the presence of additional oxygenated groups enhances the catalytic performances of the polymers by favoring the adsorption of beta-(1,4)-glucans and makes these materials significantly more active than an acidic resin bearing only sulfonic groups (i.e., Amberlyst 70). In addition, the structure of the catalyst (gel-type or macroreticular) appears to be a determining factor in the catalytic process. The gel-type structure provides higher glucose concentrations because the morphology in the swollen state is more favorable in terms of the accessibility of the catalytic centers. The observed catalytic behavior suggests that the substrate diffuses within the swollen polymer matrix and indirectly confirms that the pretreatment based on dissolution/precipitation in ionic liquids yields a substantial enhancement of the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to glucose in the presence of heterogeneous catalysts..