Researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reported about an environmentally friendly process to obtain pure cellulose nanofibrils from the green macroalgae ulva lactuca. Cellulose was extracted by sequential treatment with ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, and hydrochloric acid. A mechanical homogenization process was used to disintegrate the cellulose-rich fraction into cellulose nanofibrils.
Analysis of the monosugars reveal that the extracted cellulose contains mainly glucose, but also a fraction of xylose. Carbotrace 540 allowed the researchers to analyze the carbohydrates in its polymeric state and was key to uncover that the macroalgae contain a mixture between highly pure and a xylose-glucose polysaccharide, such as xyloglucan.
The video clip shows the eco-friendly extraction of of pure cellulose from green macroalgae from the Swedish west coast.