Influence of prefiltration on membrane performance during isolation of lignin-carbohydrate complexes from spent sulfite liquor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we examined the isolation of lignin-carbohydrate complexes (LCCs) from sodium-based spent sulfite liquor, in conjunction with minimization of membrane fouling. We screened 3 polysulfone (PS) membranes with cutoffs of 100, 50, and 25 kDa, respectively. Flux and retention for the 100- and 50-kDa membranes had the same order of magnitude, indicating that these properties were determined by fouling that formed on the membrane—not pore size. The PS membrane with the 50-kDa cutoff performed best in terms of flux and retention of lignin-carbohydrate complexes and experienced the least membrane fouling. Two prefiltration methods were used to decrease the fouling of the 50-kDa membrane: a 0.2-μm PS microfiltration membrane and dead-end filtration with 10-um filter cloth and a 4 wt% mixture of kieselguhr (diatomite) and spent sulfite liquor prior to filtration. Prefiltration of the SSL with microfiltration increased the flux 3-fold and decreased the fouling grade from 49% to 7.2%. Dead-end filtration effected a 16% increase in flux and a fouling grade of 17%. The retention of LCC during microfiltration was high, which resulted in a loss of high-molecular-weight products, whereas the loss of LCC during dead-end filtration was negligible. A 50-kDa PS membrane performed best with regard to the recovery of lignin-carbohydrate complexes from spent sulfite liquor. Also, dead-end filtration is a promising method for eliminating membrane fouling.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Chemical Process Engineering


  • Dead-end filtration, Fouling, Galactoglucomannan, Lignin, Lignin-carbohydrate-complex, Microfiltration, Prefiltration, Spent sulfite liquor, Ultrafiltration
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-388
Number of pages9
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 31
Publication categoryResearch

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