Physicochemical characterization of cellulose from perennial ryegrass leaves (Lolium perenne).

Carbohydrate research

PubMedID: 16934239

Liu CF, Xu F, Sun JX, Ren JL, Curling S, Sun RC, Fowler P, Baird MS. Physicochemical characterization of cellulose from perennial ryegrass leaves (Lolium perenne). Carbohydr Res. 2006;341(16):2677-87.
In this study, we investigated the physicochemical properties of the cellulosic preparations obtained from both untreated perennial ryegrass leaves and de-juiced leaves. It was found that treatment at 22 degrees C with 18% NaOH and 18% KOH for 2h, and 10% NaOH and 10% KOH for 16 h yielded 28.2%, 28.8%, 22.7%, 23.4%, respectively, of 'cellulose' residue from untreated ryegrass leaves and 35.7%, 36.8%, 32.8% and 34.6%, respectively, from the de-juiced leaves. For each cellulosic fraction, the glucose content was 71.6%, 69.6%, 67.8%, 66.7%, 69.7%, 68.6%, 63.9% and 61.7%, respectively. The structure of the cellulose samples was examined using FTIR and CP/MAS (13)C NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. The cellulosic preparations were free of bound lignin except for noticeable amounts of residual hemicelluloses (28.4-38.3%), and had intrinsic viscosities between 275.1 and 361.0 mL/g, along with molecular weights from 144,130 to 194,930 g/mol. This study found that the cellulose samples isolated from both de-juiced ryegrass leaves and the untreated leaves had a much lower percent crystallinity (33.0-38.6%) than that from wood-based fibres (60-70%) and had much shorter fibres (0.35-0.49 mm) than those of either cereal straws, bagasse or wood. In addition, a partial disruption of the hydrogen bonds and microfibrils may occur during the de-juicing process by mechanical activity, which results in a decreased cellulose crystallinity and fibre length. These findings are significant in relation to hydrolysing ryegrass cellulose for bio-ethanol production.