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Developing uses for sugar-cane bagasse: Biotechnology applied to the paper industry

rgo additional treatment using hydrogen peroxide in order to yield paper for printed and writing.

P. cinnabarinus naturally sythesizes only small amounts of laccase when it grows on bagasse. It is necessary to add volatile agents such as ethanol, in order to increase production of the enzyme under these conditions. Ethanol was chosen as a laccase-inducer in this study because of its abundance, its low toxicity and low production cost. The research team moreover showed that if it was put into the system by forced convection at a rate of 7 g of ethanol per m3 (concentration equivalent to 3° of alcohol in the liquid phase), laccase production increased, to a maximum level (90 U per g of dry bagasse support). This amounts to 45 times the yield obtained without ethanol. Moreover, it appeared that little or no ethanol introduced was consumed by the fungus which preferentially uses other sources of carbon, resulting from the bagasse (saccharose) or put in with the substrate (maltose, yeast extracts and so on). It can therefore be recycled in the system or eliminated in a second system associated with it.

Replication of the fermentation trials at a larger scale, in an 18 litre bioreactor, confirmed the efficiency of the laccase production obtained using bagasse and ethanol (90 000 U per kg of dry bagasse after 30 days, representing the quantity needed for processing, without input of fungus, an extra 4 kg of bagasse). This bioprocess resulted in a 50% saving in energy consumption required for paper pulp refining, compared with that recorded for refining pulp from bagasse that had not been biologically treated. Another benefit came in the form of a 35% improvement in the paper's mechanical characteristics (tensile strength and tear resistance) without appreciable loss of material.

The results as a whole emphasize the potential for applications of this bioprocess in the paper industry. Retrieval of the laccase at the end of the cycle, after washi
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Source:Institut de Recherche Pour le D茅veloppement


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