Enzyme for Revitalitation Aid

Several applications have been investigated for enzymatic treatments of pulp and paper industry. These include improved drainage in recycled fibers, starch modification, specific removal of xylan for dissolving pulp manufacture, facilitated bleaching of kraft pulp, enzymatic pulping of herbaceous fibers, enzymatic pitch removal, helping refining process, and facilitated contaminant removal from recycled fibers.

The trends in the paper industry towards the use of more recycled fibers and more filler and coating pigments will have negative consequences as a loss in strength. It will enhance the paper maker to use an additive to maintain paper strength as market required.

Paper strength, as measured by burst or tear indices is one of the most important properties. It is affected by the nature of the pulping process, the presence of additives, the fiber length, and the average chain lengths of the carbohydrate polymers. In general, chemical pulps such as kraft or sulfite make paper with better strength properties than mechanical pulps, and pulps made from softwoods are stronger than pulps made from hardwoods because the former have longer fibers. Recycled fibers are not as strong as virgin fibers due to a loss of hydratability, swelling and fiber flexibility that occurs in the paper forming and drying process.

Beating or refining are mechanical processes to improve paper strength by enhancing fibrillation and inter-fiber bonding, but pulp fibrillation by cellulases was recognized as a means to enhance strength properties. This technology is used to separate and rearrange paper fibrils, so can improve the strength of paper by increasing fiber contact and bonding.

It is also important to enhance the drainage rates of recycled fibers. Drainage rates determine the loss of water during paper formation. Recycled fibers tend to have much lower drainage rates than virgin fibers, and this slows down the paper making process. In the US, where manufactures use large quantities of virgin fibers, paper machines tend to be designed for such stocks. As larger quantities of recycled fibers are introduced into paper manufacture, drainage rates slow down and it is necessary to operate the machines at lower rates.

Most of the applications of enzymes to improve the papermaking characteristics of pulp are aimed at the improvement of secondary fiber. Application of cellulases and hemicellulases to modify fiber has resulted in the following benefits:

  • Improved beating to save energy;
  • Higher freeness;
  • Enhanced drainage;
  • Improvement of certain strength properties;
  • Decreased disintegration time of recycled pulp, and
  • Reversal of hornification.
  • Increase fiber flexibility and will improve paper properties such as density and smoothness
  • Reduce fines and increase fiber fibrillation

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