Bleached and unbleached pulp fibers were treated with 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpyperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO) mediated oxidation to obtain cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs). The resulting bleached and unbleached CNFs were mixed with salicylic acid (0, 5, 10, 20 wt%) before casting and freeze-drying or 3D-printing. A series of methods were tested and implemented to characterize the CNF materials and the porous structures loaded with salicylic acid. The CNFs were characterized with atomic force microscopy and laser profilometry, and release of salicylic acid was quantified with UV-visible absorbance spectroscopy, conductivity measurements, and inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) complemented the analyses. Herein, we show that aerogels of bleached CNFs yield a greater release of salicylic acid, compared to CNF obtained from unbleached pulp. The results suggest that biodegradable constructs of CNFs can be loaded with a plant hormone that is released slowly over time, which may find uses in small scale agricultural applications and for the private home market.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited