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Statistically-Guided Optimization of the Catalysis of Cellulose Hydrolysis via Sulfamic Acid Functionalized Magnetic Iron/Iron(III) Oxide Core-Shell Nanoparticles

Author(s): Ayomi SP, Hongwang W, Asanka SY, Austin B, Jose C, Feng Xu, Donghai W, and Stefan HB

Effective optimization of the degradation of cellulose into glucose, via a magnetic catalyst is achieved, for the first time, using statistically guided modification of reaction conditions. A highly efficient procedure for the large-scale synthesis of iron/iron(III) oxide (Fe/Fe3O4) magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), functionalized with sulfamic acid, has been developed. The acid functionalized MNPs have been used successfully, as a heterogeneous catalyst in the hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose and other yeast-convertible sugars, with a cellulose conversion of >50%. Optimization of the reaction conditions for the catalytic reactions has been accomplished, via the Doehlert matrix statistical approach. The Catalyst has been recovered up to 82% of its original weight, over 20 reaction cycles, with only marginal losses of magnetic property and catalytic activity. Based on its’ robustness and efficiency, we propose that the above catalyst is an excellent candidate for the industrial production of ethanol from plant cellulose.

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