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Hydrochloric Acid Hydrolysis of Pulps from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches to Produce Cellulose Nanocrystals

Hastuti, Novitri, Kanomata, Kyohei, Kitaoka, Takuya
Journal of polymers and the environment 2018 v.26 no.9 pp. 3698-3709
Elaeis guineensis, X-ray diffraction, acid hydrolysis, agricultural wastes, biomass, cellulose, dispersibility, electron microscopy, food processing wastes, fruits, homogenization, hydrochloric acid, nanocrystals, sulfuric acid, temperature, thermal analysis, thermal stability, ultrasonic treatment, ultrasonics, South East Asia
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were successfully isolated by hydrochloric acid hydrolysis followed by ultrasonic homogenization of oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB), which are a major form of agricultural waste in Southeast Asia. Currently sulfuric acid is mainly used in CNC preparation to achieve high dispersibility; however, we demonstrated that CNC suspensions prepared from OPEFB by hydrochloric acid hydrolysis remained stable without any sedimentation over 6 months. The obtained CNCs were fully characterized by elemental analysis, electron microscopic observation, X-ray diffraction measurement, and thermal analysis. The OPEFB-derived CNCs exhibited higher aspect ratios of 23–29 and higher thermal stability of 347–359 °C as maximum degradation temperature, as compared with those of woody CNCs prepared by sulfuric acid hydrolysis (15 and 311 °C, respectively). Although as-prepared CNCs showed comparable morphological and physicochemical properties to those prepared from oil palm biomass by other methods including sulfuric acid hydrolysis, use of hydrochloric acid and ultrasonication for hydrolysis of OPEFB was effective to yield crystalline CNCs with long-term nanodispersibility showing clear birefringence.