Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Carrier, Julie D.

Reader

Costello, Thomas A.

Second Reader

Griffis, Carl L.

Abstract

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) is a native tree species that grows as a volunteer in the understory of managed pine forests in Arkansas. Sweetgum, as well as other volunteer species, must be removed before the pines can be harvested. Sweetgum wood can be converted to hemicellulosic and cellulosic sugars by dilute acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. These wood-derived sugars can then be fermented into cellulosic ethanol. Usually, the bark is not deconstructed into sugars, but transformed into thermal energy via a combustion process. Interestingly, the bark of the sweetgum contains value-added products that could be recovered prior to thermal processing. Recovering value-added compounds will increase the tree’s value and potential to be used as a biofuel-destined feedstock. The goal of this research was to extract value-added chemicals from sweetgum bark, and to determine their antioxidant capabilities. The specific compounds contributing to antioxidant activity were identified and separated using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC). The amount of antioxidant activity in the bark and the individual fractions was determined using the thiobarbituric reactive substance (TBARS) assay.

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