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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8106814, 10 pages
Research Article

Using Commercial Enzymes to Produce Cellulose Nanofibers from Soybean Straw

1Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Bandeirantes Avenue 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2National Nanotechnology Laboratory for Agriculture, Embrapa Instrumentação, Rua XV de Novembro 1452, 13561-206 São Carlos, SP, Brazil

Received 26 May 2016; Revised 14 July 2016; Accepted 10 August 2016

Academic Editor: Zeeshan Khatri

Copyright © 2016 Milena Martelli-Tosi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study used commercial enzymes to isolate cellulose nanofibrils (CN) and produce sugars from chemically pretreated soybean straw (SS) (stem, leaves, and pods) by alkali (NaOH 5 or 17.5% v/v at 90°C for 1 h or at 30°C for 15 h) and bleaching (NaClO2 3.3% or H2O2 4%) pretreatments. Depending on the pretreatment applied to the soybean straw, the yield of CN varied from 6.3 to 7.5 g of CN/100 g of SS regardless of the concentration of the alkaline solution (5 or 17.5%). The CN had diameter of 15 nm, measured over 300 nm in length, and had high electrical stability (zeta potentials ranged from −20.8 to −24.5). Given the XRD patterns, the crystallinity index (CrI) of CN ranged from 45 to 68%, depending on the chemical pretreatment the starting material was submitted to. CN obtained from SS treated with NaOH 17.5% and H2O2 (CrI = 45%) displayed better thermal stability probably because a lignin-cellulose complex emerged. The soluble fraction obtained in the first step of CN production contained a large amount of reducing sugars (11.2 to 30.4 g/100 g of SS). SS seems to be a new promising industrial source to produce CN via enzymatic-mechanical treatment, leading to large amounts of reducing sugars for use in bioenergy production.