Arabinose content of arabinoxylans contributes to flexibility of acetylated arabinoxylan films

A.M. Stepan, A. Hoïje, H.A. Schols, P. de Waard, P. Gatenholm

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Arabinoxylans (AX) from rye were partly debranched by chemical hydrolysis methods, and AXs differing in arabinosyl substitution were acetylated using chemical methods. The resulting materials are film forming, and these films underwent molecular structural analysis and were tested for their material properties. The composition and structure of the modified polymers were determined using high performance anion exchange chromatography and two dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance; it was shown that all free hydroxyl groups (of both xylose and arabinose) were acetylated. Further characterizations were done by dynamic mechanical analysis and thermo-gravimetric analysis to evaluate the thermal behavior of the material. The observed glass transition temperatures (Tg) increased with a decrease in arabinosyl substitutions. The thermal degradation temperatures were all close to 380°C. The mechanical properties were characterized with tensile tests of the films. Tensile tests showed that the strain at break, which reflects the flexibility of the material, was significantly higher at higher arabinosyl substitution levels. The elastic Young's modulus was not significantly affected, although a tendency was seen toward a less stiff material at higher arabinosyl substitution. The ultimate strength of the materials was remarkably high in all cases, around 60 MPa, with little difference between them. Considering these properties, a great potential is foreseen in the application of acetylated arabinoxylans as packaging films and as matrix for composites
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2348-2355
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • wheat-straw hemicelluloses
  • n,n-dimethylformamide/lithium chloride
  • xylan derivatives
  • esterification
  • system
  • glucuronoxylan
  • esters
  • wood


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