The plant item cellulose is the most plentiful type of biomass all inclusive and can be changed over into helpful items, for example, biofuels. Be that as it may, the preparing of this biopolymer is bulky, attributable to its inflexible, water-insoluble structure. To beat this, researchers in Japan as of late built up a novel laser-based method that makes cellulose corruption simpler. Since this response doesn’t require unforgiving conditions, it can prompt productive utilization of cellulose across different enterprises, particularly ecological innovation.
With the impending danger of an atmosphere emergency hanging over our heads, it has gotten pivotal to create proficient options in contrast to non-renewable energy sources. One choice is to utilize clean wellsprings of fills called biofuels, which can be created from common sources, for example, biomass. The plant-based polymer cellulose is the most plentiful type of biomass all inclusive and can be changed over into crude materials, for example, glucose and xylose for the creation of bioethanol (a sort of biofuel). Be that as it may, this procedure is provoking attributable to the atom’s unbending and thick structure, which makes it insoluble in water. Scientists and biotechnologists all around have utilized traditional strategies like microwave radiation, hydrolysis, and ultrasonication to corrupt this polymer, however these procedures require extraordinary conditions and are in this manner unreasonable.
To this end, in a new study published in Energy & Fuels, a research team in Japan, including Dr Takayasu Kawasaki (Tokyo University of Science), Dr Heishun Zen (Institute of Advanced Energy, Kyoto University), Prof Yasushi Hayakawa (Laboratory of Electron Beam Research and Application, Institute of Quantum Science, Nihon University), Prof Toshiaki Ohta (SR Center, Ritsumeikan University), and Prof Koichi Tsukiyama (Tokyo University of Science), developed a novel technique for cellulose degradation. This technique was based on a type of laser called the infrared-free electron laser (IR-FEL), whose wavelength is tunable in the range of 3 to 20 μm. This new method is a promising green technology for the zero-emission degradation of cellulose. Dr Kawasaki says, “One of the unique features of the IR-FEL is that it can induce a multiphoton absorption for a molecule and can modify the structure of a substance. So far, this technology has been used in the basic fields of physics, chemistry, and medicine, but we wanted to use to spur advances in environmental technology.”
The researchers realized that IR-FEL could be utilized to perform separation responses on different biomolecules. Cellulose is a biopolymer made out of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms, which structure covalent obligations of changing lengths and edges with one another. The polymer has three infrared groups at the frequencies of 9.1, 7.2, and 3.5 μm, which relate to three unique bonds: the C−O extending mode, H−C−O bowing mode, and C−H extending mode, separately. In view of this, the researchers illuminated powdered cellulose by tuning the frequency of the IR-FEL to these three frequencies. At that point, they investigated the items utilizing strategies, for example, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and synchrotron radiation infrared microscopy, which uncovered that the cellulose atoms had effectively disintegrated into glucose and cellobiose (forerunner particles for bioethanol creation). Not simply this, their items were acquired at exceptional returns, making this procedure incredibly effective.Dr Kawasaki explains, “This was the first method in the world to efficiently obtain glucose from cellulose by using an IR-FEL. Because this method does not require harsh reaction conditions such as harmful organic solvents, high temperature, and high pressure, it is superior to other conventional methods.”
Apart from generating biofuels, cellulose has several applications-for example, as functional biomaterials in biocompatible cell membranes, antibacterial sheets, and hybrid paper materials. Thus, the new method developed in this study shows promise for various industries, such as healthcare, technology, and engineering. Moreover, Dr Kawasaki is optimistic that their method is useful to process not only cellulose but also other wood constituents and can prove to be an innovative method for recycling forest biomass. He concludes, “We hope that this study will contribute to the development of an ‘oil-free’ society.”