Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

There will be scheduled maintenance work beginning on Saturday 15th June 2019 at 8:30 am through to Sunday 16th June 2019 at 11:30 pm (BST).

During this time our website may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 14, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Depolymerization of cellulose to processable glucans by non-thermal technologies

Author affiliations


In this review, we discuss the recent progress made in the field of non-thermal technologies for the selective depolymerization of cellulose to processable glucans. The synergy of these technologies with catalysis, their impact on the cellulose structure and reactivity are discussed. Particularly, we highlight that these non-thermal technologies not only induce a fast cleavage of the β-1,4 glycosidic bond of cellulose but also promote random re-polymerization reactions yielding glucans with different types of glycosidic linkages (α/β-1,4, -1,3, -1,6, -1,2) and degrees of polymerization. Remarkably, these technologies are capable of converting cellulose to soluble glucans at low temperature (<70 °C), a pivotal aspect with respect to sugar stability and purity. Furthermore, the absence of solvent (and catalyst in some cases) greatly facilitates the isolation of glucans. Thanks to the presence of different types of glycosidic linkages, these glucans are much more prone to functionalization or catalytic conversion than cellulose, thus paving the way for the production of macromolecules that have a great market potential. The electricity requirement is one of the main cost drivers for the implementation of these technologies. Based on the market price of a few products, we wish to discuss the application domains of these technologies in terms of the business capabilities it may support. Mechanocatalysis, non-thermal atmospheric plasma and sonochemistry were selected as the main examples for the discussion.

Graphical abstract: Depolymerization of cellulose to processable glucans by non-thermal technologies

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 21 Mar 2016, accepted on 29 Apr 2016 and first published on 29 Apr 2016

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/C6GC00814C
Green Chem., 2016,18, 3903-3913

  •   Request permissions

    Depolymerization of cellulose to processable glucans by non-thermal technologies

    F. Jérôme, G. Chatel and K. De Oliveira Vigier, Green Chem., 2016, 18, 3903
    DOI: 10.1039/C6GC00814C

Search articles by author