AbstractThe isolation of cellulose from different lignocellulosic biomass sources such as corn cob, banana plant, cotton stalk, and cotton gin waste, was studied using a steam explosion technology as a pre-treatment process for different times followed by alkaline peroxide bleaching. The agricultural residues were steam-exploded at 220 ºC for 1-4 min for the corn cob, 2 and 4 min for the banana plant, 3-5 min for the cotton gin waste, and for 5 min for the cotton stalk. The steamed fibers were water extracted followed by alkali extraction and finally peroxide bleaching to yield cellulose with different degrees of crystallinity. The degree of polymerization of the cellulose fraction ranged from 167.4 to 1615.7. Longer residence time of the steam explosion led to an increase in cellulose crystallinity. The ten isolated cellulose samples were further characterized by SEM, FT-IR, and thermal analysis. Four lignin preparations were also obtained from steam-exploded corn cob, banana plant, cotton stalk, and cotton gin waste after alkali treatment. The SEM micrographs of the lignin showed different morphological structure for the different agricultural residues. The FT-IR and TGA analyses showed that the steam pre-treatment led to an extensive cleavage of ether bonds, condensation reactions, and some demethylation of aromatic methoxyl groups in the lignin structure. The thermal stabilities of the isolated lignins were different for different agricultural residues.