Miscanthus Giganteus: A commercially viable sustainable source of cellulose nanocrystals

Elvis Cudjoe, Mo Hunsen, Zhaojun Xue, Amanda E. Way, Elizabeth Barrios, Rebecca A. Olson, Michael J A Hore, Stuart J. Rowan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


With a goal of identifying a new scalable source for cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), we successfully isolated CNCs from a sustainable, non-invasive grass, Miscanthus x. Giganteus (MxG). Subjecting MxG stalks to base hydrolysis, bleaching and acid hydrolysis allowed access to cellulose nanocrystals (MxG-CNC) in high yields. X-ray diffraction studies showed the crystallinity of the MxG-CNCs increased with subsequent treatment conditions (>90% after HCl hydrolysis). Transmission electron microscopy showed that the MxG-CNC exhibit relatively high aspect ratios (60–70), and small angle neutron scattering showed the crystals were ribbon-like with a width and thickness of 8.5 and 2.8 nm respectively. As expected, thermomechanical analysis of nanocomposites fabricated with carboxylic acid functionalized MxG-CNC (MxG-CNC-COOH) and PVAc showed an increase in modulus (above Tg) as filler content was increased. Comparing the properties to PVAc nanocomposites containing CNCs from wood showed at least as good, if not slightly better, reinforcement at the same loading level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-241
Number of pages12
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellulose nanocrystals
  • Hydrolysis
  • Miscanthus x. Giganteus
  • Nanocellulose
  • Nanocomposites
  • Sustainable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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