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Keywords:

  • biobleaching;
  • enzyme;
  • kraft pulp;
  • laccase;
  • mediator;
  • totally chlorine free

Abstract

Biobleaching of kraft pulp is a possible application of laccase, but it has not been described in detail for complete industrial bleaching sequences yet. Therefore, in this work, the biobleaching of Eucalyptus globulus kraft pulp was performed using a modified industrial totally chlorine-free sequence. The modification consisted in the substitution of an enzymatic delignification stage, based on the application of laccase from Trametes villosa, for the first alkaline extraction one. The enzymatic stage was performed with several synthetic and natural mediators, namely 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (HBT), violuric acid (VA), methyl syringate, and syringaldehyde. Several pulp properties were analyzed after each stage of the bleaching process—kappa number, ISO brightness, viscosity, and optical properties of CIEL*a*b* system. The new biobleaching sequence improved the pulp properties, in comparison to the conventional bleaching sequence, if HBT or VA was used as mediators. VA was selected as the best mediator of those tested and the effect of its concentration in the enzymatic stage was subsequently studied. Reducing the initial concentration by 30%, the same pulp quality was obtained, but if the reduction attained 60%, an important decrease in pulp integrity was detected. The modified bleaching sequence could improve the bleached pulp properties (kappa number 10%, ISO brightness 1%, and viscosity 5%) in comparison to the mill sequence. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012