Impact of Fiber Treatment on the Oil Absorption Characteristics of Plant Fibers

Chris Wong, Tyler McGowan, Sreekala G. Bajwa, Dilpreet S. Bajwa


Most plant fibers are good sorbents of oil; however, synthetic sorbents have a much higher sorption capacity (SC) than plant fibers. This study evaluated the effect of fiber treatments, specifically hot-water treatment and mercerization, on the absorption characteristics of selected plant fibers. Five common plant fibers—corn residues, soybean residues, cotton burr and stem (CBS), cattail, and oak—were evaluated for their absorption characteristics in crude oil, motor oil, deionized (DO) water, and a 80:20 mix of DO water. The fiber treatments included ground fiber (control), hot-water treatment at 80 °C for 4 h and 125 °C for 4 h, mercerization at room temp for 48 h, and mercerization at 300 °C for 1 h. The absorption capacity (AC) varied with fiber type, absorption medium, and fiber treatment. Mercerization at 300 °C increased the water absorption of soybean residue up to 8 g/g. Mercerization at room temperature and the hot-water treatment at 125 °C increased the crude oil absorption capacity. After certain treatments, the crude oil absorption capacity of CBS and corn fibers increased over 5 g/g, and the motor oil absorption capacity of cattail, corn, and soybean also increased to 4 to 5 g/g.


Plant fiber; Mercerization; Hot water treatment; Absorption; Oil; Water

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126