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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332774

Research Project: Bioproducts from Agricultural Feedstocks

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Extraction and characterization of cellulose nanowhiskers from Mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru DC.) spines

item NEPOMUCENO, NEYMARA - Universidade Federal Da Paraiba (UFPB)
item SANTOS, AMELIA - Universidade Federal Da Paraiba (UFPB)
item OLIVEIRA, JULIANO - Universidade Federal De Lavras
item Glenn, Gregory - Greg
item MEDEIROS, ELITON - Universidade Federal Da Paraiba (UFPB)

Submitted to: Cellulose
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2016
Publication Date: 11/2/2016
Citation: Nepomuceno, N.C., Santos, A.S., Oliveira, J.E., Glenn, G.M., Medeiros, E.S. 2016. Extraction and characterization of cellulose nanowhiskers from Mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru DC.) spines. Cellulose. 24(1)119-129. doi: 10.1007/s10570-016-1109-5.

Interpretive Summary: Cellulose nanowhiskers could be an important reinforcing agent in composite materials if they can be found in abundant supplies and isolated economically. Scientists from Brazil and ARS were able to isolate cellulose nanowhiskers from Mandacaru spines, an important biomass source in Brazil. A bleaching step was used to vary the amount of residual lignin which, improved the compatibility with polymeric matrices in composite materials. These results will help to develop composite materials with improved mechanical properties and higher renewable content.

Technical Abstract: Cellulose nanowhiskers were extracted from the spines of Mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru DC.) spines, a cactus native to the Caatinga biome of in northeastern Brazil, using sulfuric acid hydrolysis preceeded by mercerization and bleaching. Nanowhisker size decreased from about 400 to 260 nm when extraction time varied from 60 to 120 min. This was confirmed by x-ray diffraction results in which the beta cellulose peak decreased in intensity with increasing extraction time. Three bleaching steps were required to remove most of the non-cellulosic constituents of the spines. Mercerized and bleached samples had somewhat lower thermal stability, as compared to untreated spines, due to removal of lignin, the most thermally stable component. The amount of time the sample was treated with sulfuric acid influenced the thermal stability and consequently the degree of crystallinity of the nanowhiskers. Cellulose nanowhiskers from Mandacaru spines provide a new renewable source of nanowhiskers that may be useful for applications such as composite reinforcement.