Woody biomass is one of the most promising renewable alternatives to fossil resources. However, some physical and chemical treatment is required to convert their chemical components into biofuels and valuable chemicals because of their low degradative properties. Recently, there has been considerable interest in ionic liquid treatment for biorefinery, and many fundamental studies on the reactivity of wood with ionic liquids have been performed from a chemical and morphological point of view. This chapter highlights the findings regarding morphological and topochemical features of wood cell walls in the degradation process as a result of ionic liquid treatment. Bright-field microscopy and scanning electron microscopy have revealed the swelling behavior of cell walls and the detailed ultrastructural features of wood tissues treated with ionic liquid. Polarized light microscopy and confocal Raman microscopy have clarified the changes in cellulose crystallinity and distribution of chemical compositions such as polysaccharides and lignin during ionic liquid treatment at the cellular level.
Part of the book: Microscopy and Analysis