The Paper industry is immensely diverse and offers various opportunities for the enzymatic applications for the core processes such as bio-bleaching, bio pulping, deinking, fibrillation, and bioremediation of effects. In the past, it has been observed that enzymes for the industrial paper industry have a few uses, but this has been confined to fields like doing modifications of raw starch.
The usage of enzymes in the paper industry has increased significantly since the mid-1980s. However, various applications of enzymes in this industry are still at the research and development stage. As of now, the most important uses are eco-friendly biobleaching of hard and softwood pulps.
Various enzymatic approaches can help in reducing energy, such as enzymatic debarking, beating, and lessening of vessel picking with enzymes. They have a massive impact on paper production as it not only makes the process easy but also reduces the refining time.
Let us understand about some of its applications in details-
- Bleaching- This is the process in which the pulped wood articles are brightened or whitened. Here in this step, they remove the lignin from chemical pulps, and it is substantial to do that as it helps in improving the quality of the paper. Bleaching of kraft pulp uses an enormous amount of chlorine and chlorine chemicals.
By using these chemicals byproducts that are chlorinate organic substances, some of which are persistent, toxic, mutagenic, can cause a harmful disturbance in biological systems. In contrast, enzymes provide a relaxed approach that enables a higher brightness ceiling to be reached.
There are two enzyme approaches to date; one of them uses hemicellulase enzymes, which is used commercially in pulp bleaching. The other uses ligninolytic enzymes to attack lignin directly and is more productive.
- Deinking– Enzymatic deinking is a new outlook to convert secondary fibers into quality products. This method is one of the most effective and reasonable processes of deinking waste paper.
Multiple enzymes have been adopted for the deinking process. Some of them are esterases, lipases, hemicellulases, ligninolytic enzymes, and cellulases.
The pulp that has enzymatically deinked has superior quality physical properties, few residual inks, and high brightness as compared to the chemically deinked recycled pulps.
- Fiber Modification- Enzymetreatedfibers can be refined smoothly, which enables the papermaker to alter paper durability properties while keeping the applied refined energy. It helps in reducing the consumption of energy in the production of thermomechanical pulps and raises the beat ability of chemical pulps.
The experts have observed that even in the highly mechanical pulps, most of the lignin and hemicelluloses remains in the pulp. Using a high amount of enzymes, only 1% of pulp is dissolved.
But after combining it with alkaline pretreatment, it improved immensely and helped in reducing the amount of energy required for refining thermomechanical pulp.
- Removal of the pitch- Pitch comprises of sterols, fatty acids, glycerol esters of fatty acid, resin acids, and other fats. It consists of less than 10% weight of the entire weight of wood, but still, it causes a lot of issues.
Pitch control is an essential aspect of paper manufacture. With the help of enzymes, it becomes a pretty simple biotechnological process. Various lipases are being used for pitch control, but it is not much efficient when pitch originates from other lipids like steroids and terpenes.
Yet enzymatic pitch control helps in pitch related issues to a satisfactory level. Its various advantages are it is eco-friendly, lessens defects on the paper web, improves paper quality, reduces effluent loads, and much more.
After reading the benefits of the application of industrial enzymes in the paper industry, it can be clearly said that it has a positive effect on the brightness of paper, is eco-friendly, plus it also simplifies the process. It is expected to have a high impact on the future technology of the papermaking industry.