Role of intrinsic and extrinsic xylan in softwood kraft pulp fiber networks

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Carbohydrate Polymers, Volume 323
Xylan is primarily found in the secondary cell wall of plants providing strength and integrity. To take advantage of the reinforcing effect of xylan in papermaking, it is crucial to understand its role in pulp fibers, as it undergoes substantial changes during pulping. However, the contributions of xylan that is added afterwards (extrinsic) and xylan present after pulping (intrinsic) remain largely unexplored. Here, we partially degraded xylan from refined bleached softwood kraft pulp (BSKP) and adsorbed xylan onto BSKP. Enzymatic degradation of 1 % xylan resulted in an open hand sheet structure, while adsorption of 3 % xylan created a denser fiber network. The mechanical properties improved with adsorbed xylan, but decreased more significantly after enzymatic treatment. We propose that the enhancement in mechanical properties by adsorbed extrinsic xylan is due to increased fiber-fiber bonds and sheet density, while the deterioration in mechanical properties of the enzyme treated pulp is caused by the opposite effect. These findings suggest that xylan is decisive for fiber network strength. However, intrinsic xylan is more critical, and the same properties cannot be achieved by readsorbing xylan onto the fibers. Therefore, pulping parameters should be selected to preserve intrinsic xylan within the fibers to maintain paper strength.
Funding Information: This work has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 964430 . Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors
Adsorption, Bleached softwood kraft pulp, Enzymatic degradation, Hemicelluloses, Mechanical properties, Paper
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Schaubeder , J B , Spirk , S , Fliri , L , Orzan , E , Biegler , V , Palasingh , C , Selinger , J , Bakhshi , A , Bauer , W , Hirn , U & Nypelö , T 2024 , ' Role of intrinsic and extrinsic xylan in softwood kraft pulp fiber networks ' , Carbohydrate Polymers , vol. 323 , 121371 .