Applied Physics A

, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 873–884 | Cite as

Furfural as a marker of cellulose degradation. A quantitative approach

  • Tomasz ŁojewskiEmail author
  • Tomasz Sawoszczuk
  • Janusz Marek Łagan
  • Katarzyna Zięba
  • Andrzej Barański
  • Joanna Łojewska


Non-destructive methods of sampling during the physicochemical studies of historical objects such as old books and manuscripts seem to be an obvious choice. Since furfural has been shown to be one of the most abundant gaseous products of cellulose degradation, it can be considered as a convenient marker of degradation progress. The number of quantitative data concerning correlations between the emission of furfural and physicochemical and mechanical properties of paper is rather scarce in the literature. In the present studies, a model paper containing more than 99% of cellulose was aged inside closed vials at 90°C. Gaseous products of paper degradation were measured using sorption tubes filled with Tenax TA sorbent and GC-MS. The method has proved to be sufficiently sensitive for measuring furfural emission not only in accelerated degradation at 90°C but also during natural ageing of paper at room temperature even in relatively short time intervals of 2–28 days. The correlations between furfural emission and polymerization degree, pH, color, tear index, number of double folds and breaking length have been statistically confirmed at confidence level α=0.001. Basing on them it was possible to estimate the number of broken glycosidic bonds per one molecule of furfural formed during degradation—we found a value equal to 9.2.


VOCs Furfural SPME Cellulose Degradation Polymerization Degree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomasz Łojewski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tomasz Sawoszczuk
    • 1
  • Janusz Marek Łagan
    • 1
  • Katarzyna Zięba
    • 1
  • Andrzej Barański
    • 1
  • Joanna Łojewska
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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