Biopulping

The objective of pulping is to extract cellulose fibers from plant material, generally hard or soft wood trees. Mechanical and chemical pulping are usually employed for this process. However, a biological approach involving white rot fungi could replace environmentally unfriendly chemicals (e.g., chlorine) save on mechanical pulping energy costs and improve the quality of pulp and the properties of paper (Breen and Singleton 1999). The ligninolytic enzymes of white rot fungi selectively remove or alter lignin and allow cellulose fibers to be obtained. Recent data suggest that biopulping has the potential to be an environmentally and economically feasible alternative to current pulping methods (Akhtar et al. 2000; Scott et al. 1998).

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