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 Utilization of biomass for preparation of environment-friendly materials

Danuta Ciechańska ,  Ewa Wesołowska ,  Ewa Kopania ,  Janusz Kazimierczak ,  Justyna Wietecha ,  Arkadiusz S. Bloda 

Instytut Biopolimerów i Włókien Chemicznych w Łodzi, ul. M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 19/27, Łódź 90-570, Poland



1.    BIOMASA,  “Utilization of biomass for preparation of environment-friendly materials”, The project is carried out within the Operational Program -Innovative Economy, 2007-2010, Priority 1: Research and development in modern technologies, Action 1.1.: Support to research in the creation of a knowledge–based economy, Sub-action 1.1.2.: Strategic programs of research and development. Time frame of the project 2009-2014.

Members of the Consortium:

-           Lodz University of Technology, Łódź – The leader of the project

§         Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences

§         Faculty of Chemistry

§         Faculty of Material Technology and Textile Design

-           Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibres, Łódź

-           Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Łódź

-           University of Agriculture, Kraków

-           Central Mining Institute, Katowice

The main objective of the project is to develop a range of technologies to produce polymeric fibrous and composite materials based on raw materials deriving from processing of various types of plant biomass by biotechnological methods, utilizing specialized enzyme preparations or cultures of microorganisms. Technologies elaborated within the project will have an impact on the development of the knowledge-based economy. Individual objectives of the project include development of technologies or  methods for:

-   multi-enzyme preparation from Aspergillus niger for efficient degradation of plant biomass toward cellulose nanofibers,

-   enzymatic saccharification of plant biomass for fermentation of L-lactic acid,

-   immobilized lipase from Mucor circinelloides and Mucor racemosus for preparation of polyols from biomass derived from oilseeds,

-   selection of lactic acid bacteria strains for stereospecific synthesis of L-lactic acid,

-   producing cellulose nanofibers using enzyme preparations,

-   producing polyols from oilseeds using lipase from M. circinelloides and M. racemosus,

-   fermentative production of L-lactic acid,

-   the synthesis of L, L-lactide,

-   polymerization of tactic polylactide (PLA) by L, L - lactide for fiber- and thermo-forming,

-   preparation of aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters with the use of oilseed-derived polyols,

-   preparation of fibers from obtained aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters,

-   production of non-wovens directly from melt of aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters,

-   innovative nonwoven products using new generation of biodegradable polymers for hygiene, technical, agronomic and clothing applications,

-   technology for preparation of elastomer composites and nanocomposites with specific time of use involving products from biomass processing,

-   new materials based on polylactide and mineral fillers for use in packaging,

-   thermoplastic composites reinforced with cellulose nanofibers,

-   agrotextiles based on PE and PLA matrix reinforced with cellulose fibers,

-   biological processing of post-consumer polymeric materials prepared within the project,

-   practical management of degradation products of polymeric materials prepared within the project.

Synthetic results of

Workpackage 1.2. Pre-treatment of selected plant material (biomass) used to achieve the objectives of the project and Workpackage 3.1. Preparation of cellulose nanofibers from plant materials.

Plant biomass is widely considered as a vast and renewable source of various biopolymers such as cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignins and pectins. Among them, cellulose is the most known raw material and cellulose fibres are characterized by a wide range of useful properties including relatively high strength, high stiffness, low density as well as biodegradability. Within the scope of the project several types of plant biomass i.e. stems of hemp and flax (both fibre- and seed varieties) as well as waste flax textile fibres were selected as a starting material. The stems were subjected to a complex preliminary treatment in order to liberate cellulose from non-cellulose matrix composed of lignins, hemicelluloses and pectins. As a result of biomass purification process, cellulose pulp in the form of fibres with high alpha-cellulose content and only slight amount of lignin was obtained. Multi-enzyme preparations developed at Technical University of Lodz from Aspergillus niger fungal strain as well as commercial preparations of cellulases were applied in order to facilitate further fibrillation of cellulose fibres to micro- and nanofibres during high-shear mechanical treatment. After the process morphological changes in the cellulose structure were examined by scanning electron microscope and alpha-cellulose and lignin content (Kappa number) was determined. After subsequent enzymatic and mechanical treatment of cellulose fibres from flax and hemp straws appearance of cellulose nanofibers with diameters ranging from tens to several hundred nanometers was observed in the SEM images.

The fibrous materials and composites prepared within the project will be further utilized for obtaining new functional materials with various potential applications such as sanitary textiles, noise-absorbing materials, sweat-absorbing textile inserts, filtration materials, geo- and agrotextiles. So far, as many as 10 patent applications concerning the results of the project has been filed in Polish Patent Office.


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Related papers

Presentation: Polish Research Projects at Nano and Advanced Materials Workshop and Fair, by Arkadiusz S. Bloda
See On-line Journal of Nano and Advanced Materials Workshop and Fair

Submitted: 2013-07-04 10:12
Revised:   2013-09-02 15:33