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Evaluation of Agave Fiber Delignification by Means of Microscopy Techniques and Image Analysis

  • Hilda M. Hernández-Hernández (a1), Jorge J. Chanona-Pérez (a1), Georgina Calderón-Domínguez (a1), María. J. Perea-Flores (a2), Jorge A. Mendoza-Pérez (a3), Alberto Vega (a4), Pablo Ligero (a4), Eduardo Palacios-González (a5) and Reynold R. Farrera-Rebollo (a1)...


Recently, the use of different types of natural fibers to produce paper and textiles from agave plants has been proposed. Agave atrovirens can be a good source of cellulose and lignin; nevertheless, the microstructural changes that happen during delignification have scarcely been studied. The aim of this work was to study the microstructural changes that occur during the delignification of agave fibers by means of microscopy techniques and image analysis. The fibers of A. atrovirens were obtained from leaves using convective drying, milling, and sieving. Fibers were processed using the Acetosolv pulping method at different concentrations of acetic acid; increasing acid concentration promoted higher levels of delignification, structural damage, and the breakdown of fiber clumps. Delignification followed by spectrometric analysis and microstructural studies were carried out by light, confocal laser scanning and scanning electron microscopy and showed that the delignification process follows three stages: initial, bulk, and residual. Microscopy techniques and image analysis were efficient tools for microstructural characterization during delignification of agave fibers, allowing quantitative evaluation of the process and the development of linear prediction models. The data obtained integrated numerical and microstructural information that could be valuable for the study of pulping of lignocellulosic materials.


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Microscopy and Microanalysis
  • ISSN: 1431-9276
  • EISSN: 1435-8115
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