New Trees = Cleaner Papermaking

UntitledIf you’ve been rediscovering the complex process that trees must undergo to become paper through our recent Paper 101 videos (PRO members, check out 101, 102, and 103), then you know what a pain in the butt the tree polymer lignin can be. It’s the reason that expensive chemicals must be combined with intense heat in order to create paper.

This month, researchers revealed that they’ve been able to insert a modified gene into tree cells that makes the lignin easier to break apart, without interfering with the strength of the tree itself. The result is a papermaking process that requires only a mild chemical base and 100 degree temperatures for the pulping process, resulting in a much more environmentally friendly (not to mention cheaper) process.

 

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