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The objectives of the proposal are :
- to evaluate biotechnological solutions for eliminating problematic pitch
compounds from wood (Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus sylvestris) and pulp;
- to determine the influence of eliminating these compounds in pulp and paper
quality and wastewater toxicity; and
- to identify the pitch constituents responsible for poor pulp and paper quality
as well as effluent toxicity.

The term pitch is applied to both wood extractives and to the deposits these extractives cause during pulping and papermaking processes. Previous studies were mostly concerned with the composition of softwood pitch.
However, little is known about the composition of pitch from hardwoods and, specifically, from Eucalyptus, which is used extensively for paper pulp manufacture in Southern Europe. Wood extractives cause operation and quality problems in pulp and paper manufacture. Nonetheless, they are also of economic relevance in the production of high quality hardwood pulps, particulary from Eucalyptus. Also papermaking processes using mixtures of virgin and recycled fibres present high pitch incidence due to interactions of extractives with paper additives. Both aspects of pitch problematic will be considered in the proposed project, which includes two pulp and paper companies (ENCE-ES, and PARENCO-NL).
Moreover, the use of Eucalyptus wood by pulp and paper industry signify the need to identify the components responsible for pitch problems (a task that will be performed by the IRNA-ES) in order to define effective pitch control strategies. On the other hand, the toxicity of pitch constituents is well established. After the elimination of chlorine from pulp bleaching, the extractives now constitutes one of the most important environmental problem in wastewaters from pulp and paper mills (this ecotoxicological aspect will be investigated by the CTP-FR). The use of organisms and enzymes, to treat wood or pulp respectively, offers the possibility to introduce environmentally-friendly procedures in pulp and paper manufacture. However, most of the studies have been carried out with softwoods. These biotechnological processes will need to be adapted to hardwoods. Additionally, in previous works strains and enzymes were not selected from screening programs. Thus, a comprehensive screening is still required because it would most likely result
in the identification of better biocatalysts with improved effectiveness towards selective extractive removal, to be used for eliminating pitch and effluent toxicity problems (these studies will be developed by three biotechnology groups, CIB-ES, WAU-NL, and UW-UK).

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CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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