Soda Pulping of Torch Ginger Stem: Promising Source of Nonwood-Based Cellulose

  • ZENDRATO, Herman Marius (Department of Forest Products, Faculty of Forestry and Environment, IPB University) ;
  • DEVI, Yunita Shinta (Department of Forest Products, Faculty of Forestry and Environment, IPB University) ;
  • MASRUCHIN, Nanang (Research Center for Biomaterials, Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI)) ;
  • WISTARA, Nyoman J. (Department of Forest Products, Faculty of Forestry and Environment, IPB University)
  • Received : 2021.03.13
  • Accepted : 2021.05.24
  • Published : 2021.07.25


Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior Jack) is a potential source of lignocellulose material for various derivative products. This study aims to determine the chemical components, ratio of syringyl to guaiacyl units (S/G) in lignin, and crystallinity of the biomass of torch ginger. The effects of soda pulping on the chemical characteristics of torch ginger pulp were also studied. Pulping of the chips was conducted with active alkali of 15%, 20%, and 25% and a Liquor-to-Wood (L/W) ratio of 4:1, 5:1, and 6:1. The impregnation and pulping times at maximum temperature (170℃) were 120 and 90 min, respectively. To assess the effect of treatments on the properties of pulping, a two-factorial experimental design was applied. Results showed that the content of α-cellulose and hemicellulose in the torch ginger was 48.48% and 31.50%, respectively, with an S/G ratio of 0.70 in lignin. Soda pulping changed the crystalline structure of the biomass from triclinic to monoclinic. Active alkali, L/W ratio, and interactions considerably influenced the observed responses. The degree of delignification increased with an increase in the loading of active alkali, which lead to a decrease in the kappa number of the pulp. An active alkali content of 25% and an L/W ratio of 6:1 resulted in the highest delignification selectivity with a kappa number of 2.78 and a yield of 24%. Given its cellulose content and ease of pulping, torch ginger can be a potential raw material for derivative products that require delignification as pretreatment. However, the increase in cellulose crystallinity should be considered when converting torch ginger to bioethanol.


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