Preparation, isolation and characterization of nanocellulose from sugarcane bagasse
Mashego, Ditiro Victor
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Cellulose is a sustainable, abundant biopolymer derived from a variety of living species such as plants, animals, bacteria and some amoebas. An attractive source of cellulose for industrial uses is agricultural waste, as this use does not jeopardize food supplies and improves the local rural economy. Sugarcane bagasse (SCB) is one of the main biomass wastes from sugar production and represents 30–40 wt % of sugar production waste. In 2008, South Africa produced on average 22 million tons of sugar cane each season from 14 sugar mill supply areas which resulted in 7,9 million tons of “waste” bagasse. In this study cellulose nanocrystals were prepared from soda pulped sugarcane bagasse by acid hydrolysis followed by separation using centrifugation, ultrasonication and dialysis. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) images showed nanocrystals of approximately 300 nm in length and 20 nm in width. Thermogravimetric Analysis and Differential Thermogravimetry (TGA and DTG) profiles of FD CNC, MCC and Pulped bagasse all had characteristic onset and decomposition temperatures indicating a change in the structure after chemical treatments. Particle size distribution measurements corroborated with the TEM and FE - SEM results and showed that the majority of the nanocrystals were in the 100 – 300 nm range. Attenuated Total Reflectance – Fourier Transform Infra Red (ATR - FTIR) analysis showed functional group changes as the amorphous regions of the polymer were removed revealing the ordered crystalline portions. These were further confirmed by an increase in the Lateral Orientation Index (LOI) of the samples as the nanocrystals were isolated. X - Ray Diffraction (XRD) Crystallinity Index (CrI) calculations showed a steady increase in the crystallinity of the materials from pulped bagasse to MCC to FD CNC.