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Industrial utilization of tobacco stalks II: preparation and characterization of tobacco pulp by steam explosion pulping


Our previous paper showed tobacco stalks to posses the characteristics of a raw material for pulp and paper application. It contains the major biomass constituents and cell components common to wood species. In this study, preparation and characterization of tobacco stalk pulp by steam explosion (SE) pulping at two chemical pretreatments were attempted. Chemical pretreatment prior to SE pulping improved the brightness, yield, and strength properties of the resulting tobacco SE pulps in the order: 6% Na2SO3 + 1% NaOH > 6% Na2SO3 > control (untreated). The 6% Na2SO3 + 1% NaOH-impregnated tobacco stalks produced SE pulps of good fiber length distribution and considerable properties that compare well with pulps from other raw materials obtained from previous studies, and the nonimpregnated ones showed strength properties superior to those of their poplar counterpart. Prior to bleaching, pretreating the tobacco stalk SE pulps with two stages, 2% NaOH at 90°C, improved the initial pulp brightness by about 5 points. Two-stage 6% H2O2 bleaching gave a comparable effect with hypochlorite bleaching for both tobacco and poplar, giving a 29–34 brightness point increase for tobacco SE pulp and 61 for the poplar samples. The differences in the bleaching responses for untreated tobacco and poplar SE pulps were attributed to the differences in their lignin structure, as shown in the total yield of their respective nitrobenzene oxidation products and FT-IR spectra. Tobacco SE pulps contain more of the guaiacyl-type lignin and poplar the syringyl-type lignin.


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Correspondence to Kyoji Suzuki.

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Agrupis, S., Maekawa, E. & Suzuki, K. Industrial utilization of tobacco stalks II: preparation and characterization of tobacco pulp by steam explosion pulping. J Wood Sci 46, 222–229 (2000).

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Key words

  • Steam explosion (SE) pulping
  • Tobacco SE pulp
  • Lignin
  • Characterization