Low-Temperature Alkali-Anthraquinone Pretreatment of Wheat Straw: Gradual Dissolution of Lignin and Carbohydrate Retention in Pretreated Solids

Lilong Zhang, Keli Chen


This paper presents a comprehensive study of wheat straw that was alkali-pretreated with NaOH loadings from 60 to 220 mg NaOH/g dry straw and a 0.5% anthraquinone (AQ) loading at 90 °C for 1, 2, and 3 h. Images of the residual solids were taken with a scanning electron microscope. A full compositional analysis of the raw material and residual solids, yield of compounds dissolved in the black liquor (BL), and molecular weight (Mw) after the different pretreatments were presented to track the dissolution process of lignin and carbohydrates. The ratio of the lignin fraction to carbohydrates dissolved in the BL was used for an analysis of the reaction selectivity. The cellulose retained 90% of the carbohydrates in the pretreated straw, while 75% of the lignin was dissolved in the BL gradually with an intermediate value of Mw. Low-molecular weight lignin (Mw ~ 1800 and degree of polymerization ~ 1.05) was dissolved out with the 60 mg NaOH/g dry straw loading. When the NaOH loading was increased to 220 mg NaOH/g dry straw, the Mw of the lignin was 4300 to 4700.


Alkali pretreatment; Low temperature; Wheat straw; Lignin; Selective pretreatment

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