Hydrolysis biorefining technologies aim to produce biofuels and/or platform chemicals from the polysaccharides
of lignocellulosic biomass by breaking them apart into their constituent monosaccharide (single sugar) units.
This can be done in various ways, including using enzymes and chemicals. Furthermore, these technologies often involve a pre-treatment stage to
make the lignocellulosic matrix more amenable to subsequent hydrolysis and in many cases these pre-treatments can partially hydrolyse some of the polysaccharides.
Particularly when elevated temperatures and/or chemicals are employed in either pre-treatment or hydrolysis it can be possible for the production of
the monosaccharide to not be the end-point of the process. Some sugars may be further degraded to a variety of potential products. This is important
since these products can often be inhibitory to fermentation or can otherwise complicate subsequent downstream processing methods.
However, some of these sugar degradation products can be valuable chemicals in their own right and technologies may target their production.
The types and concentrations of these sugar degradation products will be dependent on the feedstock, pre-treatment, and hydrolysis methods used and can
vary substantially with these parameters.
Celignis personnel have significant experience in the analysis of sugar degradation products. The company was formed based on the outputs of a
European research project called DIBANET that targeted the production of the degradation products
levulinic acid, furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural, and
formic acid from lignocellulosic biomass. We have developed analytical methods to determine the concentrations of the main
degradation products of interest. These can be categorised according to two main classes, organic acids and furans.
Analysis of Organic Acids
We focus on the analysis of carboxylic acids that can be derived from the degradation of biomass-derived sugars. A carboxylic acid is an organic compound
where a carbon atom is bonded to a hydroxyl group by a single bond and to an oxygen by a double bond. Listed below are the organic acids that we currently
determine in biomass hydrolysates and liquids from biomass pre-treatment processes.
Levulinic acid (or 4-oxopentanoic acid), is a 5-carbon carboxylic acid derived from the acid-catalysed degradation
of glucose and other hexoses. It can be inhibitory to fermentation and enzymatic hydrolysis but can also be a valuable platform
chemical from which a
wide variety of chemicals, that can substitute for petroleum-derived products, can be derived. It is a versatile platform chemical due to its particular
chemistry - it has two highly reactive functional groups (carboxyl and ketone) that allow a great number of synthetic transformations. The United States
Department of Energy recognised levulinic acid as one of the top 12 value added chemicals to be derived from biomass.
Formic acid (methanoic acid) has the formula HCOOH and is the simplest carboxylic acid. It is a co-product in the
production of levulinic acid from hexoses and can also be formed from the degradation of other sugars and sugar-degradation products.
Formic acid is used extensively as a decalcifier, as an acidulating agent in textile dying and finishing, and in
leather tanning. It is also used
in the preparation of organic esters and in the manufacture of drugs, dyes, insecticides, and
refrigerants. In industrial production, formic acid is usually produced as a by-product of acetic acid production by
liquid phase oxidation of hydrocarbons.
Acetic acid (ethanoic acid) has the
formula CH3COOH and is an important industrial chemical and food additive.
Analysis of Furans
A furan is a heterocyclic organic compound with a five membered ring containing four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom. The furans that we analyse-for
contain groups attached to this ring and are possible products from the degradation of biomass-derived sugars.
Furfural has an aldehyde group attached to the furanic ring and has the formula OC4H3CHO. It is an important
industrial solvent and also a precursor to a number of other important furanic compounds, including furfuryl alcohol. It is a degradation
product from pentose sugars, such as xylose and arabinose.
As with some other furans and many organic acids, furfural can be inhibitory to some fermentative organisms and hydrolysis enzymes.
Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), also known as 5-furfural, contains an aldehyde and an alcohol functional group
attached to the furan ring. It can be produced
through the acid-catalysed dehydration and subsequent cyclisation of hexoses such as glucose
and mannose. HMF is also an intermediate in the production of levulinic acid
from hexoses. The functional side groups found in HMF offer a wide range of applications for which HMF can be used and transformed and it has the
potential to be a very useful platform chemical, providing it can be produced economically. HMF can also
be inhibitory to some fermentative organisms and hydrolysis enzymes.
Analysis of Organic Acids and Furans at Celignis
We can determine a number of organic acids and furans, relevant to the degradation of biomass-derived sugars, using analysis package
P22 - Organic Acids and Furans. This package is relevant to analysing the liquid outputs
from biomass pre-treatment and hydrolysis technologies. It can be used in conjunction with analysis package
P13 - Sugars and Oligossacharides in Solution to get a detailed understanding of the composition of process liquids.
We are looking for top-class applicants to develop bioprocessing IP at Celignis
We are pleased to announce that we have been selected to be awarded funding, through the Horizon 2020 Innosup Innovation Associate programme, to recruit a top-class person to lead the development of our bioprocess concept into a patentable process and prototype product with clear commercial potential.
The SAPHIRE (Self-Assembling Plant-based Hydrogels Induced by Redox Enzymes) project focuses on the production of environmentally-friendly, 100% plant-based, superior-quality hydrogels for food,
cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.
The position has a salary of €69.5k for one year, plus €20k of training and €3.5k in relocation funds.
Please click here for further information on the position and how to apply.
Celignis Collaborating with Ibiocat on Biorefinery Solutions
Illinois-based Ibiocat, was founded by Charles Abbas, a leading light for over 40 years in biorefining.
Illinois-based Ibiocat, founded by Charles A. Abbas, and Ireland-based analytical provider Celignis, founded by Dan Hayes, have come together to develop bespoke bioeconomy solutions for clients that are looking to add value to their process residues generated from 1G and 2G ethanol plants.
Click here to read more about this exciting collaboration and here to download a promotional flyer.
We're Hosting a Review Meeting of H2020 Project ENABLING
The 2 day event will see all 16 partners of the ENABLING project discuss the progress to date.
This two-day event will see all 16 project partners discuss the progress made in the first 18 months of our Horizon 2020 project ENABLING and make plans for the activities to be undertaken in the second half of the project.
The focus of the project is on supporting the spreading of best practices and innovation in the provision (production, pre-processing) of biomass for the Bio-Based Industry (BBI).
Details the latests activities and findings of the ENABLING project
We are happy to announce that the 4th newsletter of the ENABLING project has been released.
ENABLING is a coordinating and supporting action funded by the H2020-RUR-2017-1 call of the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme.
The title of the project is an acronym that stands for 'Enhance New Approaches in BioBased Local Innovation Networks for Growth'. The focus of the project is on supporting the spreading of best practices
and innovation in the provision (production, pre-processing) of biomass for the Bio-Based Industry (BBI).
Celignis will play a key role in the project with regards to stressing the importance of biomass composition in terms of evaluating feedstock and technology suitability.
Over the course of the project we will also be contacting a number of stakeholders, both in Ireland and overseas, and will be involved in the organisation of a number of networking events.
Thanks for contacting us. One of our representatives will be in contact with you shortly regarding your inquiry. If you ever have any questions that require immediate assistance, please call us at +353 61 371 725.
Somthing went wrong! Please call us at
+353 61 371 725 or send us a email at
firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry.