bioraffineria difidioCongratulations to our Ph.D. student Nicola Di Fidio for his scientific publication entitled “Optimisation of glucose and levulinic acid production from the cellulose fraction of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) performed in the presence of ferric chloride under microwave heating” in the journal “Bioresource Technology”.

The production of platform chemicals, characterized by an industrial interest, from lignocellulosic biomass is one of the goals of modern biorefinery schemes. In this study, a two-step cascade process was designed and optimized for the production of glucose and levulinic acid starting from the cellulose fraction of giant reed. The best reaction conditions for the production of glucose in the presence of ferric chloride as a homogeneous catalyst and microwaves as efficient heating system have been identified through the chemometric approach based on the response surface methodology. At the same time, a commercial enzyme mixture was tested as heterogeneous biocatalyst. The residual biomass obtained from the first step, still containing cellulose, was further exploited for the production of levulinic acid by properly tuning the reaction conditions in the presence of the same inorganic salt. This cascade approach allowed the almost complete conversion of a renewable resource into high added-value molecules, in the perspective of the Green Chemistry principles.
His work is available at the following link:

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Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
Via G. Moruzzi, 13 - Pisa, Italy
Corso di Dottorato in Scienze Chimiche e dei Materiali
Doctoral School in Chemistry and Material Science
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