Enzymatic removal of plant residues from wool: Application of experimental design techniques for optimization parameters
This study was undertaken to find the optimum conditions of a new enzymatic process to remove plant residues from wool. Commercial enzymatic preparations of Celluclast 1.5 L and Pectinex Ultra SP-L were selected in order to hydrolyze the polysaccharides in primary plant cell walls and middle lamella, resulting into more fragile residues easier to be removed. Since it was intended to define the optimal conditions for enzyme application, a four-factor central composite design was selected to study the effects of pH, temperature, enzyme concentration and wetting agent concentration, on the two selected responses, i.e., soluble reducing sugars (RS) and alkali solubility (AS) of wool to detect plant degradation and to evaluate wool quality, respectively. Results demonstrated that enzyme concentration was the most significant effect in plant residues degradation. A total enzyme concentration loading of 20 mL of both diluted enzymatic preparations in equal parts per 1 L of incubation solution (42.970 U/L of Celluclast preparation and PG 29.3 nkat/L + PME 2.537 nkat/L of Pectinex preparation), yielded an equivalent amount of 240.127 mg of glucose per 1.0 g of plant residue, at the optimal conditions: 40.56 °C, pH 4.0 and 1 mL Plurafac/L. SEM analysis has indicated an identical and important degradation of the plant residues, when compared to the conventional carbonization process, and wool quality has been preserved.
Journal: Biochemical Engineering Journal - Volume 41, Issue 2, 1 September 2008, Pages 157–165