NC State
Janardhnan, S., and Sain, M. (2006). "Isolation of cellulose microfibrils - An enzymatic approach," BioRes. 1(2), 176-188.


Isolation methods and applications of cellulose microfibrils are expanding rapidly due to environmental benefits and specific strength properties, especially in bio-composite science. In this research, we have success-fully developed and explored a novel bio-pretreatment for wood fibre that can substantially improve the microfibril yield, in comparison to current techniques used to isolate cellulose microfibrils. Microfibrils currently are isolated in the laboratory through a combination of high shear refining and cryocrushing. A high energy requirement of these procedures is hampering momentum in the direction of microfibril isolation on a sufficiently large scale to suit potential applications. Any attempt to loosen up the microfibrils by either complete or partial destruction of the hydrogen bonds before the mechanical process would be a step forward in the quest for economical isolation of cellulose microfibrils. Bleached kraft pulp was treated with OS1, a fungus isolated from Dutch Elm trees infected with Dutch elm disease, under different treatment conditions. The percentage yield of cellulose microfibrils, based on their diameter, showed a significant shift towards a lower diameter range after the high shear refining, compared to the yield of cellulose microfibrils from untreated fibres. The overall yield of cellulose microfibrils from the treated fibres did not show any sizeable decrease.

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