Selective degradation and oxidation of hemicellulose in corncob to oligosaccharides: From biomass into masking agent for sustainable leather tanning.

Affiliation

Jiang Z(1), Gao M(2), Ding W(3), Huang C(2), Hu C(4), Shi B(5), Tsang DCW(6).
Author information:
(1)Department of Biomass Science and Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China; National Engineering Research Center of Clean Technology in Leather Industry, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China.
(2)Department of Biomass Science and Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China.
(3)China Leather and Footwear Research Institute Co. Ltd., Beijing 100015, PR China.
(4)Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ministry of Education, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China.
(5)Department of Biomass Science and Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China; National Engineering Research Center of Clean Technology in Leather Industry, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
(6)Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China.

Abstract

Chrome-free metal tanning agent has been considered as eco-friendly in the leather industry. However, extensive crosslinking reactions of metal species on the leather surface restrain their uniform penetration into the hierarchical nanoscale leather matrix. Thus, masking agents with appropriate coordination ability are needed. Herein, the selective degradation of hemicellulose in corncob was achieved with 92.5% of conversion in an AlCl3-H2O system, obtaining oligosaccharides masking agent with high purity and leaving cellulose and lignin in the solid residue for other valuable use. Subsequently, H2O2 oxidation was performed to introduce -CHO/-COOH into oligosaccharides and reduce their molecular weights, thereby enhancing coordination ability and reducing ligand dimension. The post-oxidized reaction fluids together with additional Zr species were subjected to leather tanning, in which the oligosaccharides could coordinate with Al/Zr species and promote the penetration of metal species into the leather matrix. By controlling the hemicellulose degradation and oligosaccharide oxidation, an appropriate concentration of oligosaccharides with proper -CHO/-COOH contents allowed the efficient masking effect of the oligosaccharides. As a result, a uniform distribution of Al/Zr species was observed on the cross section, and 83.5 °C of shrinkage temperature was obtained for the chrome-free tanned leather.