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Endoxylanase action towards the improvement of recycled fibre properties

López Lorenzo, M., Nierstrasz, V. A., Warmoeskerken, M. M. C. G.
Cellulose 2009 v.16 no.1 pp. 103-115
cellulose, chemical composition, chemithermomechanical pulping, fiber quality, hydrolysis, lignin, recycled paper, surface area, xylan, xylose
The nature of recycled paper fibres varies widely. Those fibres contain high amounts of heteroxylans and lignin besides cellulose. In order to study the potential effect of xylanases on the quality of recycled fibres, chemithermomechanical pulp fibres (CTMP) are used as model substrates owing to their high content in non-cellulosic components. It has been found that the morphology of CTMP fibres changes by means of xylanase treatment. Treatments of CTMP fibres with an endoxylanase result in an improved surface area of the fibres by fibrillation, without shortening the fibres. The chemical composition of the surfaces of the fibres changes and an augment in surface hydrophilicity as a result of the removal of lignin and extractives associated to the xylan backbones is observed. Experimental results are in agreement with the findings when studying the chemical composition of the fibres' surfaces: the xylan backbone is removed by the action of the endoxylanase, resulting in fibre fibrillation; further hydrolysis of released xylan chains proceeds in the bulk down to the monomer xylose.