Use of banana leaves for the production of nano/microfibres

Problem statement

The annual production of banana leaves in the Canary Islands is ~400,000 tonnes, causing 320,000-400,000 tonnes of waste in the form of leaves, resulting in high management costs.

Executive summary

Banana waste leaves are used to create a pulp from which micro/nano lignocellulose fibres (MNFLC) are obtained, which can be used for papermaking by adding them to cellulose pulp from wood, improving the mechanical qualities of the paper.

Technology description

Canary Island banana (Musa acuminate var. Dwarf Cavenish) wastes are a source of micro/nano lignocellulosic fibres (MNFLC) with high lignin and hemicelluloses content, having the same reinforcing capacity as micro/nano cellulosic fibres (MNFC) in paper production. The first step is the preparation of the pulp according to Specel® conditions (100◦C±1◦C, 150 min, 7% NaOH and liquid/solid ratio of 10:1), presenting a pulp yield of more than 80%. After this, the material is washed to remove the resulting liquor, subjected to mechanical drying and grinding processes and taken to the refining stage where the MNFLC are obtained. These are added to the bleached wood pulp sludge and cationic starch and silica are added to retain the MNFLCs on the surface. The MNFLC obtained show different properties than those obtained by oxidative and enzymatic methods, although they provided almost the same increase in properties to the paper. On the other hand, these fibres allow the production of paper with lower water retention capacity, have lower production costs than fibres from oxidative processes and have a higher yield in terms of raw material utilisation.

Market deployment considerations


Environmental considerations


Technology feedstock

banana leaves banana pseudo stems

Type of process

chemical treatment

Technology output

biodegradable films biofilms


Farm or community

Technology Readiness Level








Technology owner/developer

University of Girona
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