Various cellulose samples were oxidized by 2,2,6,6,-tetramethylpipelidine-1-oxyl radical (TEMPO)-NaBr-NaClO systems, and the effects of oxidation conditions on chemical structures and degrees of polymerization of the products obtained were studied. In the case of regenerated and mercerized celluloses, almost all C6 primary alcohol groups were selectively oxidized to carboxyl groups, and water-soluble polyglucuronic acid (cellouronic acid) sodium salts were obtained almost quantitatively; the degrees of polymerization were influenced greatly by the amount of TEMPO added, and the oxidation time and temperatures. Cellouronic acids prepared from mercerized linter and kraft pulps had size exclusion chromatograms with two separate peaks due to higher and lower molecular weight fractions. On the other hand, only small amounts of carboxyl groups were introduced into native cellulose samples. Since polyglucuronic acids prepared from cellulose by the TEMPO–NaBr– NaClO systems regularly consist of the glucuronic acid repeating unit, differing from the conventional water-soluble cellulose derivatives, they may open new fields of cellulose utilization.
cellulose TEMPO polyglucuronic acid degree of polymerization oxidation