Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 297–300 | Cite as

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Stalk: Chemical Composition and Fiber Morphology

  • Alireza Ashori
  • Yahya Hamzeh
  • Fatemeh Amani
Original Paper


This work investigates the potentials of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) stalk (LBS), a massive waste part of medicinal plant, for pulp and papermaking by assessing its fiber characteristics and chemical composition. In addition, LBS properties were compared with some important agro-residues such as bagasse stalk (BS), cotton stalk (CS) and tobacco stalk (TS). There is no information about suitability of the LBS in the open literature. Chemically, LBS fibers contain a relatively high percentage of alpha-cellulose (32.7%), but a low percentage of lignin (25%), which benefits pulping and bleaching. The hemicelluloses in LBS are mainly glucose and xylose. Ash content was about 6%, superior to the average value corresponding to woods, which makes pulping difficult. It was verified that the chemical compositions of the studied agro-residues vary significantly. Morphologically, the LBS fibers are comparable to those of hardwoods. Rather a significant amount of parenchyma cells was found in LBS. The TS has the highest average fiber length, while the LBS has the least, and the lengths of BS and CS fibers fall in between. In general, based on the results of this study, some propositions can be made about the possible applications of LBS as a non-wood renewable source of natural products for use in the production of pulp and paper.


Papermaking Chemical composition Morphology Lemon balm stalks Non-wood 



The financial support of the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Akgül M, Çamlibel O (2008) Build Environ 43:438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Atchison JE (1993) Data on non-wood plant fibers. In: Hamilton F, Leopold B (eds) Pulp and paper manufacture, vol III. TAPPI Press, Atlanta, p 157Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    McCloskey JT (1995) What about non-woods? In: Proceedings of 19495 TAPPI global fiber supply symposium. 5–6 Oct. Chicago, IL, pp 95Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ashori A (2006) Polym Plast Technol Eng 45:1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jiménez LA, Baldovin FL, Herranz JLF (1993) Tappi J 76:169Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oliveira L, Cordeiro N, Evtuguin DV, Torres IC, Silvestre AJD (2007) Ind Crops Prod 26:163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    TAPPI Test Methods (2002) Tappi Press, Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wise LE, Karl HL (1962) In: Earl LC (ed) Cellulose and hemicellulose in pulp and paper science and technology, vol 1. McGraw Hill Book Co, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ashori A, Bahreini Z (2009) Compos Mater 43:1297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eroglu H (1998) Fiberboard industry. Karadeniz Technical University. Publication No. 304, Trabzon, TurkeyGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hunsigi G (1989) Outlook Agri 18:96Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    McDougall GJ, Morrison IM, Stewart D, Weyers JDB, Hillman JR (1993) J Sci Food Agr 62:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical TechnologiesIranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST)TehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Wood and Paper Science and Technology, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran

Personalised recommendations