BACKGROUND: Palm pressed fibre (PPF) is a cellulose-rich biomass residue produced during palm oil extraction. Its high cellulose content allows the isolation of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC). CNC has attracted scientific interest due to its biodegradability, biocompatibility and low cost. The present study isolated CNC from PPF using a cation exchange resin, which is an environmentally friendly and less harsh hydrolysis method than conventional mineral acid hydrolysis. Isolated CNC was used to stabilise an oil-in-water emulsion and the emulsion stability was evaluated in terms of droplet size, morphology and physical stability.
RESULTS: PPF was subjected to alkali and bleach treatment prior to hydrolysis, which successfully removed 54% and 75% of non-cellulosic components (hemicellulose and lignin, respectively). Hydrolysis conditions of 5 h, 15:1 (w/w) resin-to-pulp ratio and 50 °C produced CNC particles of 50-100 nm in length. CNC had a crystallinity index of 42% and appeared rod-like morphologically. CNC-stabilised emulsion had better stability when used in combination with soy lecithin (SL), a well-established, commonly used food stabiliser. Emulsion stabilised by the binary mixture of CNC and SL had droplet size, morphology and physical stability comparable to those of emulsion stabilised using SL.
CONCLUSIONS: CNC was successfully isolated from PPF through a cation exchange resin. This offers an alternative usage for the underutilised PPF to be converted into value-added products. Isolated CNC was also found to have promising potential in the stabilisation of Pickering emulsions. These results provide useful information indicating CNC as a natural and sustainable stabiliser for food, cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical applications. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.