Application of mild autohydrolysis to facilitate the dissolution of wood chips in direct-dissolution solvents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Somdatta Deb
  • Sara R. Labafzadeh
  • Unna Liimatainen
  • Arno Parviainen
  • Lauri K J Hauru
  • Shoaib Azhar
  • Martin Lawoko
  • Tuomas Kulomaa
  • Tia Kakko
  • Juha Fiskari
  • Marc Borrega Sabate
  • Herbert Sixta

  • Ilkka Kilpeläinen
  • Alistair W T King

Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology


Wood is not fully soluble in current non-derivatising direct-dissolution solvents, contrary to the many reports in the literature quoting wood 'dissolution' in ionic liquids. Herein, we demonstrate that the application of autohydrolysis, as a green and economical wood pre-treatment method, allows for a massive increase in solubility compared to untreated wood. This is demonstrated by the application of two derivitising methods (phosphitylation and acetylation), followed by NMR analysis, in the cellulose-dissolving ionic liquids 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([amim]Cl) and 1,5-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]non-5-enium acetate ([DBNH][OAc]). In addition, the non-derivitising tetrabutylphosphonium acetate ([P4444][OAc]) : DMSO-d6 electrolyte also allowed for dissolution of the autohydrolysed wood samples. By combination of different particle sizes and P-factors (autohydrolysis intensity), it has been clearly demonstrated that the solubility of even wood chips can be drastically increased by application of autohydrolysis. The physiochemical factors affecting wood solubility after autohydrolysis are also discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3286-3294
Number of pages9
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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