The Direct Conversion of Hemicelluloses to Selectively Produce Xylose from Corn Stover Catalysed by Maleic Acid

Ping Wu, Jianmei Li, Ting He, Changwei Hu


The direct conversion of hemicellulose in corn stover to xylose while avoiding further degradation in water by using maleic acid as a catalyst was studied. When 0.06 M maleic acid was added, a 96.8 wt.% hemicellulose conversion was achieved, with relatively low conversion of cellulose (24.1 wt.%) and lignin (20.7 wt.%) at 140 °C for 2 h, and a relatively high yield of 22.5 wt.% (95.5 mol%) to xylose was achieved. Maleic acid interacted with the open form of xylose via hydrogen bonding to stabilize xylose, whereas its further degradation pathway was blocked, which led to improved yield and selectivity. The conversion of hemicellulose in bamboo, apple tree, straw, and mulberry to produce xylose (at 140 °C, for 2 h) catalyzed by maleic acid was also effective (Ya = 17.8 wt.%, Yb = 127.1 mol% xylose yield for hardwood and Ya = 25.1 wt.%, Yb = 109.6 mol% yield for grass) under the same conditions.


Hemicellulose; Xylose; Maleic acid effect; Solubilisation; Depolymerisation

Full Text:


Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126