Technological watch

Chemical Characterization and Enzymatic Control of Stickies in Kraft Paper Production

Paper recycling has increased in recent years. A principal consequence of this process is the problem of addressing some polymeric components known as stickies. A deep characterization of stickies sampled over one year in a recycled paper industry in México was performed. Based on their chemical structure, an enzymatic assay was performed using lipases. Compounds found in stickies by Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry were poly (butyl-acrylate), dioctyl phthalate, poly (vinyl-acetate), and poly (vinyl-acrylate). Pulp with 4% (w/w) consistency and pH = 6.2 was sampled directly from the mill once macrostickies were removed. Stickies were quantified by counting the tacky macrostructures in the liquid fraction of the pulp using a Neubauer chamber before the paper was made, and they were analyzed with rhodamine dye and a UV lamp. Of the two commercial enzymes evaluated, the best treatment condition used Lipase 30 G (Specialty Enzymes & Biotechnologies Co®, Chino, CA, USA) at a concentration of 0.44 g/L, which decreased 35.59% of stickies. SebOil DG (Specialty Enzymes & Biotechnologies®) showed a stickies reduction of 21.5% when used at a concentration of 0.33 g/L. Stickies in kraft paper processes were actively controlled by the action of lipases, and future research should focus on how this enzyme recognizes its substrate and should apply synthetic biology to improve lipase specificity.

Publication date: 20/01/2020

Author: Lourdes Ballinas-Casarrubias

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym12010245

MDPI (polymers)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.