Honors Program

Honors in Chemistry

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Dane W. Scott

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Gregory W. Bishop


Biofuels are a sought-after alternative for fossil fuels in today’s society. More specifically, cellulose-based biofuel is an avenue of research intending to limit waste and provide new renewable energy. Cellulose is a rigid polymer of glucose monomers that is found abundantly across different agriculture crops. However, its stability is a barrier to energy production from this source. Pretreatment followed by hydrolysis of cellulosic materials serves a potential to produce glucose to be used in biofuels in larger quantities compared to other methods. This project studied the effect microwave pretreatment and oxygenation have on hydrolysis of cellulose in Arundo Donax. Arundo Donax ground samples are used in solution with acetic acid buffer (pH= 5.0) along with cellulase and maintained at 50°C. The solution’s concentration, in parts per million (ppm), of glucose after hydrolysis was measured over 96 hours using the dinitro salicylic acid method. The Michaelis-Menten constant for cellulase using Arundo Donax and Microcrystalline cellulose before pretreatment were found to be 29.965 g/L and 6.684 g/L, respectively. The concentration of glucose found in Arundo Donax reached a maximum of 310 ppm after 72 hours. In addition, oxygenation, and deoxygenation of buffer and Arundo solution as pretreatment did not yield significantly higher concentrations than Arundo without oxygen manipulation averaging a glucose production of 214.5 ppm with deoxygenation and 209.2 ppm with oxygenation. Microwave pretreatment of Arundo Donax followed by hydrolysis resulted in 29.2 ppm glucose.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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