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Biomacromolecules

A novel method for the determination of carbonyl groups in cellulosics by fluorescence labeling. 3. Monitoring oxidative processes.


PMID 12741793

Abstract

The fluorescence-based CCOA method for determination of carbonyl group profiles in cellulosic substrates was employed to study the mechanisms of various oxidative and degradation processes involving celluloses in greater detail. The approach comprises labeling with the marker carbazole-9-carboxylic acid [2-(2-aminooxyethoxy)ethoxy]amide (CCOA), followed by gel permeation chromatography in DMAc/LiCl with fluorescence, multiangle laser light scattering, and refractive index detection. At first, the CCOA method was applied to study solutions of pulp in N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide monohydrate (NMMO), as occurring in the production of Lyocell-type fibers. NMMO is a rather strong oxidant that on one hand converts reducing end groups to carboxyl structures, thus lowering the overall carbonyl content, but generates new keto structures along the chain by nonselective oxidation on the other hand. The CCOA method allowed for the first time to distinguish the carbonyl course in different molecular weight ranges. Second, alkalization and aging of pulp, which are used in the industrial preparation of cellulose derivatives, e.g., as an element of the preripening process in viscose rayon production, were investigated. The CCOA method shows a clear reduction of the molecular weight, accompanied by a fast loss of carbonyls in the first phase, which is due to removal of low-molecular weight material by dissolution, and a slow decrease in the second phase, which is caused by further oxidation of carbonyl groups. Also here, differences in the carbonyl course in different molecular weight regions were monitored. Third, electron beaming, proposed as a means of pulp activation, was shown to decrease and narrow the molecular weight distribution, under generation of comparatively low amounts of carbonyls, which, however, are also introduced into high molecular weight, crystalline domains, as shown by a comparison of homogeneous and heterogeneous CCOA labeling approach. Finally, as the fourth application, thermal treatment of cellulose at temperatures between 105 and 165 degrees C was shown to bring about a small reduction of the molecular weight, which only at higher drying temperatures is accompanied by an introduction of carbonyls over the whole molecular weight range.

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