Analysis of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) with flow cytometry

Anders Strand, Lari Vähäsalo, Elias Retulainen, Anna Sundberg

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    Abstract

    Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were prepared from kraft pulps of eucalyptus, birch, and softwood. The different kraft pulps were hydrolyzed using strong sulfuric acid in order to obtain colloidally stable CNCs. The CNCs were studied using flow cytometry (FCM). The light scattering properties of the CNCs in side direction and forward direction were documented. The use of a selective staining agent in combination with FCM analysis enabled detection of the hydrophobic particle populations within the CNC suspensions. The hydrophobic particles were seen clearly in the CNCs from the eucalyptus and birch kraft pulps, but not in the CNCs from softwood pulp. These particles were shown to be linked with the content of lipophilic extractives, especially sterols, present in the kraft pulps. From this fact, it was concluded that FCM analyses offer useful information about the properties of CNCs in suspension. It was also concluded that the content of lipophilic extractives in different raw materials should be determined and considered prior to CNC production. Pre-extraction steps might be needed in order to produce high-quality CNCs from various raw materials, even from kraft pulps.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)959–970
    JournalCellulose
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • Flow cytometry
    • Cellulose
    • Hydrophobicity
    • CNC
    • Light scattering
    • colloids
    • Lipophilic extractives

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