Brightness improvement of Douglas fir thermomechanical pulp by EDTA and ascorbic acid treatments on chips

Marina E. Van Der Zee, Reyes Sierra-Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This investigation studies the use of Douglas fir wood as feedstock for thermomechanical pulp (TMP). Douglas fir wood extractives include flavonoids and other polyphenolic compounds, which make the pulp susceptible to discolouration. Pulp darkening is promoted by the formation of metal-chelates and phenolic oxidation products. The effectiveness of various wood pretreatment s to prevent the discoloration of polyphenolic extractives in Douglas fir wood was investigated in lab-scale experiments. Iron-mediated brightness losses (up to 5.1% ISO) could be prevented by wood pretreatment with 0.2% EDTA. Treatment of wood meal slurries at temperature levels comparable to those applied in thermomechanical pulping caused wood discoloration due to polyphenol oxidation. The brightness losses could be reduced by the addition of 0.5% ascorbic acid. The anti-oxidizing agent was more effective with sapwood compared to heartwood. EDTA pretreatment allowed an increase in the proportion of heartwood from 12% to 39% (w/w) that could be tolerated as feedstock for the production of dithionite bleached TMP with a brightness of 60% ISO. Wood chip impregnation with both EDTA and ascorbic acid only proved advantageous over EDTA alone in Douglas fir samples consisting almost exclusively of sapwood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Wood Chemistry and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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