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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246795

Title: Synthesis of Cellulose Acetate from Cotton Byproducts

item Cheng, Huai
item Dowd, Michael
item Selling, Gordon
item Biswas, Atanu

Submitted to: Carbohydrate Polymers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2009
Publication Date: 4/1/2010
Citation: Cheng, H.N., Dowd, M.K., Selling, G.W., Biswas, A. 2010. Synthesis of Cellulose Acetate from Cotton Byproducts. Carbohydrate Polymers. 80(2):499-452.

Interpretive Summary: One of our research goals is to find new utilization for agricultural byproducts and waste. We have looked at cotton process and identified cotton burr and cottonseed hull as two undervalued byproducts. It would be desirable to convert the relatively inexpensive burr and hull into polymeric derivatives that have more value. A process has been developed that permits us to convert 7 – 25% of burr and hull into cellulose acetate without prior separation of cellulose from non-cellulosic components. Cellulose acetate is a well known commercial product used in many applications. With further optimization, the process will be of interest to scientists looking for an alternative synthesis of cellulose acetate.

Technical Abstract: Cotton burr and cottonseed hull are relatively inexpensive cotton byproducts. In an effort to derive greater value out of these natural renewable materials, we have succeeded in converting part of them into cellulose acetate without prior chemical breakdown or physical separation of cellulose, lignin, protein, and other components. The process involves milling them into powder and treating them with acetic anhydride and iodine. No solvent is used except during the sample workup. An appropriate level of iodine is critical to the yield. The formation of cellulose acetate has been confirmed by NMR analysis. In general, burr gives higher yield of cellulose acetate (15%) than hull (7%). When the part of burr larger than 7 mesh is used for the reaction, the yield increases to 25%.