A Study on the Removal of Fluorescent Whitening Agents from Recycled Fibers

  • Lee, Ji-Young (Department of Forest Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Lee, Hak-Lae (Department of Forest Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Youn, Hye-Jung (Department of Forest Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Lim, Hyung-Woo (Now with R&D Center, Hansel Paper Co.)
  • Published : 2006.06.06


Virgin bleached kraft pulp, CPO (computer printout) and white ledgers are main raw materials used in tissue mills. The utilization rate of recycled fibers and virgin pulp in South Korea tissue industry are 90% and 10%, respectively. To improve brightness of printing grades the use of 'fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs)' or 'optical brightening agents (OBAs)' has been increased. When recycling these papers for tissue production, it is unavoidable that FWAs contained in recycled papers flow into tissue production lines and remain in the products. And this draws great attention from the public. This study was carried out to develop a technology for the removal of fluorescent whitening agents from recycled fibers. Enzymatic removal of FWAs was evaluated as a method to remove FWAs from the recycled fiber. The ${\alpha}-amylase$ that degrades starched used for surface sizing of fine papers and contained substantial condition is needed to prevent the re-adsorption of FWAs on fibers. The temperature of pulp suspension was another important factor affecting on FWA removal. The higher the temperature, the greater the efficiency of removing FWAs was obtained. Optimum pH and temperature for the effective removal of FWAs were suggested to be pH 8.5 and $65^{\circ}C$, respectively. The enzymatic removal of FWAs showed a great synergistic effect when proper control in pH and temperature was made.