Enhanced morphological characterization of cellulose nano/microfibers through image skeleton analysis Articles uri icon


  • Sanchez Salvador, Jose Luis
  • Campano, Cristina
  • Tarres, Quim
  • Mutje, Pere
  • Delgado Aguilar, Marc
  • Monte, M. Concepcion
  • Blanco, Angeles

publication date

  • August 2021

start page

  • 2077

end page

  • 2096


  • 8


  • 11

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2079-4991


  • The present paper proposes a novel approach for the morphological characterization of cellulose nano and microfibers suspensions (CMF/CNFs) based on the analysis of eroded CMF/CNF microscopy images. This approach offers a detailed morphological characterization and quantifi-cation of the micro and nanofibers networks present in the product, which allows the mode of fibrillation associated to the different CMF/CNF extraction conditions to be discerned. This information is needed to control CMF/CNF quality during industrial production. Five cellulose raw materials, from wood and non-wood sources, were subjected to mechanical, enzymatic, and (2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl (TEMPO)-mediated oxidative pre-treatments followed by different homogenization sequences to obtain products of different morphologies. Skeleton analysis of microscopy images provided in-depth morphological information of CMF/CNFs that, complemented with aspect ratio information, estimated from gel point data, allowed the quantification of: (i) fibers peeling after mechanical pretreatment; (ii) fibers shortening induced by enzymes, and (iii) CMF/CNF entanglement from TEMPO-mediated oxidation. Being mostly based on optical microscopy and image analysis, the present method is easy to implement at industrial scale as a tool to monitor and control CMF/CNF quality and homogeneity.


  • Biology and Biomedicine


  • cellulose nanofibers; gel point; image skeleton analysis; microscopy; morphology; nanocellulose; quality control