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1D and 2D NMR of nanocellulose in aqueous colloidal suspensions


This is the first report on surface structural elucidation of individual nanocellulose as colloidal suspensions by 1D 1H, 2D heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) as well as 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). 1H NMR of rice straw CNCs (4.7 nm thick, 143 nm long, 0.04 sulfate per AG or 19.0% surface hydroxyl to sulfate conversion) resembled that of homogeneous cellulose solution. Conventional 2D HSQC NMR of CNC, CNF 1.5 (2-14 nm thick, several micrometers long, 0.10 COOH per AG) and CNF10 (2.0 nm thick, up to 1 μm long, 0.28 COOH per AG) gave H1:H2 ratios of 1.08:1, 0.97:1 and 0.94:1, respectively, all close to the theoretical 1:1 value for cellulose. The H1:H6 ratios determined from 2D HSQC NMR for CNCs, CNF1.5 and CNF10 were 1:1.47, 1:0.88 and 1:0.14, respectively, and corresponded to 26%, 56% and 93% C6 primary hydroxyl conversion to sulfate and carboxyl groups, consistent with, but more sensitive than those by conductometric titration and X-ray diffraction. Both 1H and 2D HSQC NMR data confirm that solution-state NMR detects nanocellulose surface carbons and protons primarily, validating this technique for direct surface characterization of nanocellulose in aqueous colloidal suspensions, presenting a sensitive and meaningful NMR tool for direct characterizing individual nanocellulose surfaces in never-dried state.

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