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Characterisation of Solubility and Aggregation of Alkaline Extracted Plant Cell Wall Biopolymers
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Up to 30% by mass of plant cell walls are comprised of hemicelluloses. The remainder is comprised of cellulose, lignin and extractives. Potential economic uses of hemicellulose include hydrogels, fibre additives in pulp mill paper-making and as a substrate for fermentation processes. Development of a fermentation process with sugars from hemicellulose has become of increasing interest due to their potential as a feedstock for fermentation-based liquid fuels and other bio-based chemicals. These can be incorporated into existing processes, in particular alkaline chemical pulping mills, where up to 50% of the hemicelluloses are today degraded and eventually combusted. The main objective of this project is to examine the solubility and aggregation properties of xylans (the predominant hemicellulose), as this will hopefully lead to better solubility-based separations for their recovery. This was done at Michigan State University by alkaline extraction at 85°C on milled birch wood, and at 130 and 170°C (both time-dependent) on birch chips, with 50 g/L sodium hydroxide. This was then followed by precipitation/aggregation experiments with ethanol, polyDADMAC (a polycationic flocculant) and by acidification. Characterisation was done by performing dynamic light scattering (DLS) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) analysis on resolubilised recovered material from the different extraction conditions. From these, size distributions, molecular weights and degrees of polymerization (DP) could be estimated. The DP values for the extracted polymers were higher than the expected values for hardwood xylans, owing to the incoherent SEC chromatograms. This may be due to aggregate formation with other polymers or re-solubilisation issues of the hemicellulose precipitates. The estimated size range for model xylan was between 100 to 300 nm and the ethanol precipitates seemed to also lie around this region, as detected by DLS. One of the major factors contributing to the difficulty of analysing the results was the issue of re-solubilisation of the hemicellulose precipitates and flocculates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 22 p.
Keyword [en]
Physics Chemistry Maths
Keyword [sv]
Fysik, Kemi, Matematik, Xylan, alkaline extraction, PolyDADMAC, flocculate, precipitate
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-59110Local ID: fa30d4c5-233e-4f9b-9d6b-6da0cc5756e8OAI: diva2:1032498
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Chemical Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20120827 (anonymous)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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Hagbjer, Elizabeth

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