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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Exploring Scots pine fibre development mechanisms during TMP processing: Impact of cell wall ultrastructure (morphological and topochemical) on negative behaviour

Fernando, Dinesh; Daniel, Geoffrey


A study was carried out aiming at understanding the fundamental reasons for different fibre behaviour exhibited by Norway spruce and Scots pine causing large energy consumption differences during thermomechanical pulping (TMP). Ultrastructural characterization of TMP fibres and shives, which were sampled from the two wood species after primary refining, was performed using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and TEM-immunogold labelling for their morphological and topochemical properties. As expected, pine wood chips needed higher electrical energy consumption to be refined to a given Canadian Standard Freeness and it produced inferior strength properties compared to spruce. Electron microscopy (EM) observations indicated that the mechanisms of fibre development during primary refining of pine and spruce were different. The two stages of pine fibre separation and development were not concurrent. Results indicated that pine fibre defibration/fracture occurred predominantly through the compound middle lamella/S1 interphase or through the S1 layer producing lesser amounts of shives during the primary refining stage than spruce. In contrast, spruce fibres defibrated mainly through the S2 layer. Detailed EM observations on shives and pulp fibres from TMP revealed the ultrastructural characteristics associated with pine fibre cell walls. Morphological and topochemical features of the S1 layer, S1/S2 interphase, such as lignin and galactoglucomannan distribution across cell walls were explored. The ultrastructural properties are discussed in relation to the TMP parameters (i.e., electrical energy consumption) and strength data. It is concluded that ultrastructural characteristics of Scots pine fibre cell walls govern the different fibre development mechanisms and explain the negative response of this wood during TMP processing.


cell wall ultrastructure; defibration; fibre development; glucomannan; immunogold-EM; lignin; Picea abies; Pinus sylvestris; scanning electron microscopy (SEM); shives; S1 layer; S2 layer; transmission electron microscopy (TEM); thermomechanical pulping (TMP)

Published in

2008, Volume: 62, number: 5, pages: 597-607

      SLU Authors

    • Daniel, Geoffrey

      • Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Fernando, Dinesh

        • Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)