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Effect of alkali pre-treatment on hydrolysis of regenerated cellulose fibers (part 1: viscose) by cellulases

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Viscose fabrics were pre-treated with liquid ammonia and NaOH solutions. The pre-treatment was varied in alkali concentration, time and drying conditions. Subsequently, the samples were subjected to cellulase hydrolysis. Microscope and SEM pictures were taken; weight loss, reducing sugar and protein content in solution, water retention value and tensile strength were determined. It was found, that the activity of cellulases is increased for viscose and that short time alkali pre-treatment reduces tensile strength due to changes in the substrate. The drying and drying conditions (wet, line dry of freeze dry) have great impact on the hydrolysis rate. A connection between the rate of protein loss in solution and changed water retention value was established. Weight loss of 80% of cellulose fabric was achieved within 4 h of enzyme hydrolysis.

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The authors wishes to thank CD-Research society for financial funding, R. Wohlgemuth and R. Schuepbach both Sigma–Aldrich Production GmbH, Buchs, Switzerland for freeze drying of the samples and providing chemicals and Lenzing A.G., Austria for material support. We are indebted to Heinz Duelli, Department of Engineering, F.H. Vorarlberg for SEM images and H.T.L. Dornbirn and Versuchsanstalt für Textil und Chemie, Dornbirn for access in testing equipment.

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Correspondence to Thomas Bechtold.

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Schimper, C.B., Ibanescu, C. & Bechtold, T. Effect of alkali pre-treatment on hydrolysis of regenerated cellulose fibers (part 1: viscose) by cellulases. Cellulose 16, 1057–1068 (2009).

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