The formation of deposits of resinous substances, pitch, in paper machine systems presents a serious problem for the paper industry. Pitch deposited on exposed part of the paper machine can degrade product quality and can impair the production process. Solving these problems effectively is a major concern of pulp and paper industry. Any treatment, which reduces the amount of pitch formation, could lead to savings in downtime and production costs. Lipophilic extractives responsible for pitch problems include fatty acids, fatty alcohols, resin acids, hydrocarbons, steroids, triterpenoids, and triglycerides. Therefore, biotechnological processes capable of modifying these compounds would be potential tools for reducing pitch problems during pulp and paper manufacture. Both microbial and enzymatic products have been commercialized to be applied on wood and pulp, respectively. The enzymatic method for pitch control using lipase was the first successful case of the use of an enzyme as a solution to pitch problems in the papermaking process. Similarly, the fungal method for pitch control, using a colorless isolate of Ophiostoma piliferum, was the first successful example of using a living organism as a solution to pitch problems, particularly in softwood mechanical pulping. Lipase enzymes are found useful in pulping of high-resin-content softwoods. However, lipases are not useful when pitch originates from other lipids, such as steroids and terpenes, and the sapstain inocula are also only partially effective. In the search for efficient biocatalysts to degrade recalcitrant lipids, the potential of white-rot fungi and their enzymes has been shown. When these fungi are used, wood treatment must be controlled to avoid cellulose degradation. The efficiency and selectivity of the laccase–mediator system permits its integration as an additional bleaching stage. A double benefit can be obtained since it enables extensive degradation of pulp extractives including the most recalcitrant compounds, such as sterols and resin acids and removal of residual lignin making possible the implementation of totally chlorine free pulp bleaching.


Pitch Resinous substances Paper machine Lipophilic extractives Fatty acids Fatty alcohols Resin acids Triglycerides White rot fungi Lipases Biotechnological process Microorganisms Enzymes 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pulp and Paper ConsultantKanpurIndia

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