A New Protocol for Efficient and High Yield Preparation of Nanocellulose from Elaeis guineensis Biomass: A Response Surface Methodology (RSM) Study

  • Mazlita Yahya
  • You Wei Chen
  • Hwei Voon LeeEmail author
  • Chuah Cheng Hock
  • Wan Hasamudin Wan Hassan
Original paper


An innovative system for isolating nanocellulose was established that uses Ni(NO3)2 transition metal salt without the assistance of mechanical disintegrations or mineral acid and was compared with the classic production by tedious acid hydrolysis. Optimization study on Ni(II)-catalyzed hydrolysis of cellulose isolated from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) towards nanocellulose yield was investigated. Response surface methodology-central composite design was used to design and optimize the experiments with three operating parameters: pH of Ni(NO3)2 (pH 2–4), reaction time (20‒100 min) and reaction temperature (25‒65 °C). The present study indicated that the nanocellulose yield as high as 81.37% was achieved under hydrolysis conditions of pH 3, 58 °C within 58 min. At the optimum conditions, the OPEFB derived nanocellulose rendered high crystallinity of 91.1% and excellent thermal stability of 341 °C. Evidence of the successful isolation of nanocellulose was proven by HRTEM observation revealing fibrils formed the long and interconnected network-like structure with the average width of 41.1 ± 1.6 nm and several micrometers in length, which resulted in high aspect ratio. Thus, the obtained nanocellulose via Ni(II)-catalyzed hydrolysis has numerous potential applications and represent a green alternative for the treatment of OPEFB. This study provided a facile high yield procedure for the production of nanocellulose with similar characteristics to traditional nanocellulose, which was significant to the commercialization of nanocellulose.


Nanocrystalline cellulose Response surface methodology Ni(II)-transition metal salt High yield 



The authors are grateful for the financial support by University Malaya: SATU Joint Research Scheme (ST015-2017 and ST012-2018) and RU Grant (RU007C-2017G).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mazlita Yahya
    • 1
  • You Wei Chen
    • 1
  • Hwei Voon Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chuah Cheng Hock
    • 2
  • Wan Hasamudin Wan Hassan
    • 3
  1. 1.Nanotechnology & Catalysis Research Centre (NANOCAT), Institute of Advanced StudiesUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Departments of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)Persiaran Institusi Bandar Baru BangiKajangMalaysia

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