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Saarimaa, V. J., Pranovich, A. V., Sundberg, A. C., and Holmbom, B. R. (2007). "Isolation of pectic acids from bleached TMP water and aggregation of model and TMP pectic acids by calcium," BioRes. 2(4), 638-651.


Pectins are important structural elements in spruce fibres. Alkaline peroxide bleaching of spruce thermomechanical pulp (TMP) causes degradation and demethylation of pectins, yielding high-charge-density pectic acids. The pectic acids in fibres contribute strongly to the negative fibre charge, and the dissolved pectic acids increase the cationic demand of bleached TMP water. In this study, a method to isolate pectic acids from peroxide-bleached TMP pulp water is presented. The pectic acids were isolated and purified in good yield using a polyacrylate resin to remove lignin, a cellulose filter to remove galactoglucomannans (GGM), and an anion exchange resin to separate pectic acids from neutral carbohydrates. Salts and residual low-molar-mass carbohydrates were further removed from the isolated pectic acids by dialysis. The isolated pectic acids (>80% purity) had a low molar mass and a wide polydispersity (5.9 kDa, MW/MN 3.3). The aggregation and precipitation of the isolated pectic acids, as well as citrus fruit pectic acids with well-defined molar masses, by Ca2+-ions were studied. The molar mass of pectic acids was a key factor determining the precipitation of Ca2+-pectates. Pectic acids below 6 kDa were not precipitated by Ca2+, while higher molar masses led first to partial and then to complete precipitation. The precipitated Ca2+-pectates may impair paper machine runnability and paper quality.
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