On-line version ISSN 0378-4738
Sappi Saiccor (situated in Durban, South Africa) dissolving pulp mill effluent, produced from an acid bisulphite pulping process, uses acacia and eucalyptus hardwoods to produce a unique and different blend of lignin that has not been previously studied. The chemical oxidation of lignin found in Sappi Saiccor's effluent has been investigated using a number of different chemical oxidising agents, such as nitrobenzene, oxygen with and without the presence of a copper sulphate pentahydrate catalyst, and hydrogen peroxide. The reaction products were extracted with acid and identified using GC-MS and LC-MS techniques. Nitrobenzene is a good oxidising agent but tends to produce many toxic by-products and would not be acceptable on an industrial scale. Oxygen oxidation has previously been shown to produce aldehyde-type compounds, and in this work has produced good yields of both vanillin and syringaldehyde compared to previous oxygen oxidation reactions. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidising agent that tends to over-oxidise the lignin during long reaction times.
Keywords : chemical oxidation; lignin; effluent; vanillin; syringaldehyde.