Using Simons stain to predict energy savings during biomechanical pulping

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Wood and Fiber Science, Vol: 27, Issue: 3, Page: 258-264

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Akhtar, M.; Blanchette, R.A.; Burnes, T.A.
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mechanical pulping; energy; savings; pulping; energy consumption; prediction; methodology; phanerochaete chrysosporium; aphyllophorales; ligninolytic microorganisms; lignin; microbial degradation; wood chips; pinus taeda; populus tremuloides; fibers; staining; stains; wood pulp; energy conservation; electrical energy; ceriporiopsis subvermispora; Forest Sciences
article description
Pretreatment of wood chips with lignin-degrading fungi can save substantial amounts of electrical energy during a mechanical pulping process. In order to optimize this process, a rapid and reliable method was needed to predict energy savings. In this paper, we examine a fiber staining method that involves the use of Simons stain. This stain for microscopic examination of pulp fibers has been used previously to evaluate the degree of fibrillation in beaten fibers or more recently to differentiate fibers from untreated (control) and fungus-treated wood chips. Aspen or loblolly pine wood chips were treated with white-rot fungi under different experimental conditions in static-bed bioreactors for two or four weeks. At harvest, control and fungus-treated chips were refined through a single-disk me- chanical refiner and then evaluated for fiber staining characteristics and the energy consumption during refining. Fibers obtained from control pulps stained a deep blue, whereas those obtained from different biopulps showed different intensities of yellow. The yellowing of biopulp fibers correlated very well with energy savings. The results demonstrate that the Simons staining method can accurately predict appreciable energy savings during biomechanical pulping and therefore can be used as a rapid screening technique to optimize the biopulping process.