Catalytic Role of Ionic Liquids for Dissolution and Degradation of Biomacromolecules

Zaira Zaman Chowdhury, Sharifuddin Mohd. Zain, Sharifah Bee Abd Hamid, Khalisanni Khalid

Abstract


Natural biomacromolecules constitute a diverse feedstock, including carbohydrate-based polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, starch, agarose, and Konjac glucomannan) together with lignin — extracted mainly from biomass — and other protein based polymers, namely keratin, chitin, chitosan, and silk fibroin. The complex and heterogeneous chemical structure of biomacromolecules makes them difficult to dissolve and disintegrate into simpler molecules for further applications. In this regard, ionic liquids are potential solvents for the dissolution and modification of long chain biopolymers. This provides a promising pretreatment technology and is known to allow adequate extraction of biopolymers from natural sources. This paper highlights the properties of ionic liquids for their use as versatile solvents. This review provides a critical outlook regarding the influence of several process parameters that govern the fractionation of biomacromolecules into their constituent elements and further pretreatment processes. The performance of different types of ionic liquids for processing of biomacromolecules, focusing on their pertinent capability as catalysts to enhance the rate of hydrolysis, also is discussed in this article.

Keywords


Biopolymers; Cellulose; Chitosan; Keratin; Polysaccharides; Lignin; Biomass

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