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Isolation and characterization of cellulose nanofibers from banana peels

Pelissari, Franciele Maria, Sobral, Paulo José do Amaral, Menegalli, Florencia Cecilia
Cellulose 2014 v.21 no.1 pp. 417-432
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, acid hydrolysis, bananas, bleaching, cellulose, nanofibers, nanoparticles, thermal analysis, thermal properties, transmission electron microscopy
Cellulose nanofibers were isolated from banana peel using a combination of chemical treatments, such as alkaline treatment, bleaching, and acid hydrolysis. The suspensions of chemically treated fibers were then passed through a high-pressure homogenizer 3, 5, and 7 times, to investigate the effect of the number of passages on the properties of the resulting cellulose nanofibers. The cellulose nanofibers isolated in this study had a dry basis yield of 5.1 %. Transmission electron microscopy showed that all treatments effectively isolated banana fibers in the nanometer scale. The micrographs of the process steps used to isolate the nanofibers revealed gradual removal of amorphous components. Increasing number of passages in the homogenizer shortened the cellulose nanofibers while furnishing more stable aqueous suspensions with zeta potential values ranging from −16.1 to −44.1 mV. All the samples presented aspect ratio in the range of long nanofibers, hence being potentially applicable as reinforcing agents in composites. X-ray diffraction studies revealed that homogenized nanofiber suspensions were more crystalline than non-homogenized suspensions. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy confirmed that alkaline treatment and bleaching removed most of the hemicellulose and lignin components present in the banana fibers. Thermal analyses revealed that the developed nanofibers exhibit enhanced thermal properties. In general, the nanoparticles isolated from the banana peel have potential application as reinforcing elements in a variety of polymer composite systems.