Strategies to modify physicochemical properties of hemicelluloses from biorefinery and paper industry for packaging material

  • Zongquan Li
  • Xuejun Pan
review paper


Hemicelluloses are heteropolysaccharides existing in plant cell wall and seed, and they can be extracted or separated from plants as byproducts during the biomass pretreatment in biorefineries and the pulping in paper industry. The hemicelluloses have many applications such as in biofuels, platform chemicals, and materials. Producing packaging materials (films) is a potential high-value application of the hemicelluloses. However, native hemicelluloses are usually unable to form strong and durable films due to their short chain (low molecular weight), high hydrophilicity, and heterogeneous nature. Chemical and biological modifications could change the physicochemical properties of the hemicelluloses and thereby improve the strength and performance of the hemicellulose-based films. The present review extensively summarized and discussed the recent development and progress in hemicellulose modification strategies and methods for improving the formability and properties of the hemicellulose-based packaging films such as mechanical strength, processability, thermal stability, hydrophobicity, and oxygen and water vapor permeability, which include enzymatic treatment, esterification, etherification, oxidation, coupling, and crosslinking. The challenges and opportunities of hemicellulose as packaging materials were addresses.


Enzymatic modification Chemical modification Packaging film Xylan Mannan 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470601 and 31370581) and China Scholarship Council (CSC).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Paper Science and Technology of Ministry of EducationQilu University of TechnologyJinanChina
  2. 2.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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