Effect of Enzyme Type on the Control of Fluorescent Whitening Agents during Recycling

Hae Min Jo, Ji Young Lee, Su Ho Kim, Yeon Hui Lee, Chul Hwan Kim


The goal of this study was to develop an eco-friendly removal technology for fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) using enzymes suitable for each type of FWA. Internally treated paper with internal FWA (D-FWA) and surface-sized paper with surface-sizing FWA (T-FWA) were made as model papers in a laboratory. The enzymatic treatments were applied to the stock prepared using these model papers by disintegration. Cellulase and (alpha-) amylase treatments were performed at 50 °C under the conditions of pH 3 to 4 and pH 7 to 8, respectively. After disintegration and enzymatic treatments, handsheets were made, and the fluorescence index and FWA reduction of these handsheets were determined for evaluating FWA removal during recycling. Because D-FWA gets strongly attached to cellulosic fibers, it could not be easily separated from the internally treated paper by disintegration. Up to 8.1% of D-FWA was removed by enzymatic treatment with high-activity cellulase. Amylase could not separate D-FWA from cellulosic fibers. In the case of T-FWA, ca. 41% was separated by disintegration, and an additional 24% was detached from surface-sized papers by high-activity amylase treatment. Therefore, cellulase was effective in removing internal FWA (D-FWA), and amylase was required for removing surface-sizing FWA (T-FWA) during recycling.


Fluorescent whitening agent; Removal; Recycling; Cellulase; Alpha-amylase; Fluorescence index

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