The cellulose industry and its impact on the population: From the social to the biochemical

Matías González Hernández, Violeta Morin Muñoz, Nicolas Labra Cataldo, Ariel Castro


The Biobío region in Chile is characterized by a strong forestry industry, which provides jobs and supports regional GDP. Cellulose production is one of the most economically relevant activities, but it causes environmental, social, and public health problems. The generation of polycyclic organic compounds in cellulose production is one of the primary pollutants. It can produce endocrine effects and DNA alteration through interaction with enzymes of the CYP family and Aryl hydrocarbon receptors, affecting organisms' functioning. Retene is one of the polycyclic aromatic organic compounds generated in cellulose production. However, its harmful potential for human health remains poorly explored. From another perspective, the circular economy seeks to use production waste as inputs. However, cellulose contaminants are found in traces, resulting in a limitation for promoting a valorization industry. Under a reduction approach, there is a potential to improve production processes that increase retene and form other organic compounds, thus preventing cellulose contaminants from entering the environment. This review approaches the environmental problem from an interdisciplinary perspective, to highlight biochemistry and circular economy in order to determine and solve a priori environmental problems.

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Esta Revista es Editada por la Facultad de Economía y Negocios, Universidad de Talca, CHILE, 2 Norte 685, Talca. E_mail: o -