Biomass Convers Biorefin. 2022 Oct 14:1-10. doi: 10.1007/s13399-022-03380-6. Online ahead of print.
Nanocellulose has become a vital material with excellent and crucial properties in the field of nanotechnology and advanced materials science. Plant-based traditional Chinese medicines are mostly plant rhizomes, which contain a large amount of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. In this study, carboxylated cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were prepared from traditional Chinese medicine residues (CMR) by sequential periodate-chlorite oxidation without mechanical treatment. The obtained nanocelluloses were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and X-ray diffractometry (XRD); the carboxyl content and specific surface area were also measured, simultaneously. XRD results revealed that the crystallinity index decreased after sequential oxidation; however, the cellulose I structure was maintained. From the morphology analysis, the average length and width of CNCs were 139.3 and 10 nm, respectively. From the FTIR analysis, with the particle size decreasing, hydrogen bonds were broken and recombined. TGA results showed that the thermal property was decreased with a reduction of nanocellulose particle size and crystallinity index. This study is the first to refine utilization of traditional Chinese medicine residues as a potential source of cellulose, that is, to prepare nanocellulose efficiently with high carboxyl content which finds its application in nanomaterials.