Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) Stalk: Chemical Composition and Fiber Morphology
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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.
KeywordsPapermaking Chemical composition Morphology Lemon balm stalks Non-wood
The financial support of the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) is gratefully acknowledged.
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