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|High pressure-promoted xylanase treatment to enhance papermaking properties of recycled pulp
|Salgueiro, Ana M.
Evtuguin, Dmitry V.
Saraiva, Jorge A.
|Industrially produced bleached recycled pulp (R) comprising essentially hardwood fibres was subjected to enzymatic treatment with endo-xylanase from Thermomyces lanuginosus with or without ultra-high hydrostatic pressure (UHP) pre-treatment at 300-600 MPa for 10 min. The kinetics and the extent of enzymatic hydrolysis after UHP pre-treatment under different conditions have been evaluated by released reducing sugars and the analysis of neutral sugars in pulps, respectively. The changes in surface chemical composition of pulps were assessed by UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. UHP-pre-treated R under optimal conditions (400 MPa), with or without posterior enzymatic treatment, was used for the production of handsheets and evaluation of its mechanical properties. It was suggested that enzymatic modification improves significantly the papermaking properties of recycled pulp. These improvements were related with selective removal of xylan bound to impurities and to aggregated cellulose fibrils on the fibre surface, thus favouring the ensuing swelling and inter-fibre bonding in paper. UHP pre-treatment and posterior enzymatic treatment revealed a synergetic effect on the mechanical properties of recycled pulp. This fact was assigned to enhanced accessibility of fibres towards xylanase and by forced hydration and favourable rearrangement of cellulosic fibrils in fibres after UHP pre-treatment. The increase of basic strength properties after UHP-promoted xylanase treatment was up to 30 % being the most pronounced for the tensile strength and the burst resistance.
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