Clustered Single Cellulosic Fiber Dissolution Kinetics and Mechanisms through Optical Microscopy under Limited Dissolving Conditions

Valtteri Mäkelä, Ronny Wahlström, Ulla Holopainen-Mantila, Ilkka Kilpeläinen, Alistair W T King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Herein, we describe a new method of assessing the kinetics of dissolution of single fibers by dissolution under limited dissolving conditions. The dissolution is followed by optical microscopy under limited dissolving conditions. Videos of the dissolution were processed in ImageJ to yield kinetics for dissolution, based on the disappearance of pixels associated with intact fibers. Data processing was performed using the Python language, utilizing available scientific libraries. The methods of processing the data include clustering of the single fiber data, identifying clusters associated with different fiber types, producing average dissolution traces and also extraction of practical parameters, such as, time taken to dissolve 25, 50, 75, 95, and 99.5% of the clustered fibers. In addition to these simple parameters, exponential fitting was also performed yielding rate constants for fiber dissolution. Fits for sample and cluster averages were variable, although demonstrating first-order kinetics for dissolution overall. To illustrate this process, two reference pulps (a bleached softwood kraft pulp and a bleached hardwood pre-hydrolysis kraft pulp) and their cellulase-treated versions were analyzed. As expected, differences in the kinetics and dissolution mechanisms between these samples were observed. Our initial interpretations are presented, based on the combined mechanistic observations and single fiber dissolution kinetics for these different samples. While the dissolution mechanisms observed were similar to those published previously, the more direct link of mechanistic information with the kinetics improve our understanding of cell wall structure and pre-treatments, toward improved processability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1645
Number of pages11
JournalBiomacromolecules
Volume19
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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