Steam Explosion and Alkali-Oxygen Combined Effect for Degumming of Kenaf Fiber

Shengchuan Gao, Guangting Han, Wei Jiang, Yuanming Zhang, Xiao Zhang


Kenaf is an economically viable and ecologically friendly cellulose source. It can be used in the textile, paper, and bio-energy industries, but it has not been effectively developed and utilized because of degumming problems. To effectively take advantage of kenaf resources, to satisfy the growing demand for natural fiber, and to provide support for other fiber material degumming, steam explosion (STEX) pretreatment followed by alkali-oxygen treatment was studied. The effect of pressure on the properties of kenaf during the STEX treatment was studied, and the optimal degumming process for kenaf was selected. Results showed that STEX pretreatment removed pectin and part of the hemicellulose. Carbohydrates (cellulose and hemicellulose) could be degraded via high pressure treatment. The residual gum content and the fineness of the kenaf fiber after the alkali-oxygen treatment were good enough for textile production. High pressure was found not to be a key factor influencing the degumming process. Low pressure STEX (0.5 MPa) and alkali-oxygen treatment was judged to be an efficient method for degumming kenaf fibers.


Kenaf fiber; Steam explosion; Degumming; Cellulose

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