Flax fibre modification using enzyme systems to obtain high-value cellulose products
ColaboratorRoncero Vivero, María Blanca; Vidal Llucià, Teresa; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Enginyeria Tèxtil i Paperera
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
The aim of this thesis is to modify flax pulp fibres (Linum usitatissimum) by more friendly environmental processes. Pulp and paper research is focussing through enzyme systems investigation for developing green chemistry technologies due to existing environmental concerns and to legal restrictions. Moreover, it exists also an increasing strategic interest in using flax fibres to obtain high-quality specialty papers. That is why we study the application of biotechnology as an efficient alternative to traditional industrial processes based on the use of chemical agents. This work is framed by two of the main research topics of the Paper and Graphic Specialty Laboratory in the Textile and Paper Engineering Department of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. One research line is based on pulp bleaching and is focused basically on the study of enzymatic systems as biobleaching agents; the other research topic that has been recently introduced in our investigation group is the use of enzymes as functionalisation agents by promoting the grafting of several compounds. Laccase is the main enzyme used in this thesis; it is an oxidoreductase that can assist reactions in an eco-friendly way since laccase uses air and produces water as the only by-product. Moreover, laccase can work under mill conditions and has wide application potential. The first part of this thesis involved the use of enzymes to bleach flax pulp. The aim was to explore the potential of various natural mediators (lignin-derived compounds) for delignifying flax fibres in order to identify the most efficient and ecofriendly choice among them. Afterwards, we assessed the use of various enzyme delignification stages in an industrial bleaching sequence. The ensuing totally chlorine free (TCF) sequence comprised various laccase-mediator system treatments (L stage) followed by a by a chelating stage (Q stage) and a subsequent bleaching step with hydrogen peroxide (Po stage). A xylanase pretreatment was additionally carried out. Laccases used came from the fungi Pycnoporus cinnabarinus and Myceliophthora thermophila; the performance of several natural mediators was compared with the obtained with the application of various synthetic mediators. In addition, the lack of studies on the properties of effluents from the treatment of non-wood pulp with laccase and natural mediators led A-1 A-2 us to examine effluent properties upon biotreatments and after different bleaching stages. The results obtained warrant upscaling any of the biobleaching sequences for flax pulp as they provide sustainable flax fibre with a high cellulose content and brightness above 80% ISO. The use of xylanase pretreatment was found to efficiently remove HexA and enhance delignification by laccase.
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