On the interaction of softwood hemicellulose with cellulose surfaces in relation to molecular structure and physicochemical properties of hemicellulose

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The substantial part of the water-soluble hemicellulose fraction, obtained when processing cellulose to produce paper and other products, has so far been discarded. The aim of this work is to reveal the interfacial properties of softwood hemicellulose (galactoglucomannan, GGM) in relation to their molecular and solution structure. In this study the sugar composition of GGM was characterised by chemical analysis as well as 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy. Previously it has been demonstrated that hemicellulose has high affinity towards cellulose and has the ability to alter the properties of cellulose based products. This study is focused on the interactions between hemicellulose and the cellulose surface. Therefore, adsorption to hydrophobized silica and cellulose surfaces of two softwood hemicellulose samples and structurally similar seed hemicelluloses (galactomannans, GMs) was studied with ellipsometry, QCM-D and neutron reflectometry. Aqueous solutions of all samples were characterized with light scattering to determine how the degree of side-group substitution and molecular weight affect the conformation and aggregation of these polymers in the bulk. In addition, hemicellulose samples were studied with SAXS to investigate backbone flexibility. Light scattering results indicated that GM polymers form globular particles while GGMs were found to form rod-like aggregates in the solution. The polysaccharides exhibit higher adsorption to cellulose than on hydrophobic surfaces. A clear correlation between the increase in molecular weight of polysaccharides and increasing adsorbed amount on cellulose was observed, while the adsorbed amount on the hydrophobic surface was fairly independent of the molecular weight. The obtained layer thickness was compared with bulk scattering data and the results indicated flat conformation of the polysaccharides on the surface.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
  • Institut Laue Langevin
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Polymer Technologies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7063-7076
Number of pages14
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch