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Cellulose

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 775–786 | Cite as

Health and environmental safety aspects of friction grinding and spray drying of microfibrillated cellulose

  • Jari VartiainenEmail author
  • Tiina Pöhler
  • Kristiina Sirola
  • Lea Pylkkänen
  • Harri Alenius
  • Jouni Hokkinen
  • Unto Tapper
  • Panu Lahtinen
  • Anu Kapanen
  • Kaisa Putkisto
  • Panu Hiekkataipale
  • Paula Eronen
  • Janne Ruokolainen
  • Antti Laukkanen
Article

Abstract

Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), also referred to as nanocellulose, is one of the most promising innovations for forest sector. MFC is produced by fibrillating the fibres under high compression and shear forces. In this study we evaluated the worker exposures to particles in air during grinding and spray drying of birch cellulose. Processing of MFC with either a friction grinder or a spray dryer did not cause significant exposure to particles during normal operation. Grinding generated small amount of particles, which were mostly removed by fume hood. Spray dryer leaked particles when duct valve was closed, but when correctly operated the exposure to particles was low or nonexistent. To assess the health effects of the produced MFC, mouse macrophages and human monocyte derived macrophages were exposed to MFC and the viability and cytokine profile of the cells were studied thereafter. No evidence of inflammatory effects or cytotoxicity on mouse and human macrophages was observed after 6 and 24 h exposure to the materials studied. The results of toxicity studies suggest that the friction ground MFC is not cytotoxic and does not cause any effects on inflammatory system in macrophages. In addition, environmental safety of MFC was studied with ecotoxicity test. Acute environmental toxicity assessed with kinetic luminescent bacteria test showed high NOEC values (>100 mg/l) for studied MFC. However, MFC disturbed Daphnia magna mobility mechanically when the test was performed according to the standard procedure.

Keywords

Microfibrillated cellulose Nanocellulose Safety Immunotoxicity Ecotoxicity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies, the forest industry group UPM, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University School of Science and Technology as well as Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) and all companies participating in the project “Tailoring of nanocellulose structures for industrial applications” for funding this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jari Vartiainen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tiina Pöhler
    • 1
  • Kristiina Sirola
    • 2
  • Lea Pylkkänen
    • 2
  • Harri Alenius
    • 2
  • Jouni Hokkinen
    • 1
  • Unto Tapper
    • 1
  • Panu Lahtinen
    • 1
  • Anu Kapanen
    • 1
  • Kaisa Putkisto
    • 1
  • Panu Hiekkataipale
    • 3
  • Paula Eronen
    • 3
  • Janne Ruokolainen
    • 3
  • Antti Laukkanen
    • 4
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandEspooFinland
  2. 2.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Aalto University School of Science and TechnologyHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.UPM NanocenterEspooFinland

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