Hot-Water Hemicellulose Extraction from Fruit Processing Residues

ACS Omega. 2022 Apr 12;7(16):13436-13447. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.1c06055. eCollection 2022 Apr 26.


Hemicelluloses are an abundant biopolymer resource with interesting properties for applications in coatings and composite materials. The objective of this investigation was to identify variables of industrially relevant extraction processes that increase the purity of hemicelluloses extracted from fruit residues. Our main finding is that extraction with subcritical water, followed by precipitation with alcohol, can be adjusted to yield products with a purity of at least 90%. Purity was determined based on the total concentration of glucose, galactose, xylose, arabinose, and mannose after hydrolysis with sulfuric acid. In the first experimental design (DoE methodology), the effects of extraction temperature (95-155 °C) and time (20-100 min) on yield and purity were studied. A clear trade-off between yield and purity was observed at high temperatures, indicating the selective removal of impurities. In the second experimental design, the influence of extract pH and alcohol concentration on yield and purity was investigated for the raw extract and a concentrate of this extract with 1/6 of the original volume. The concentrate was obtained by ultrafiltration through ceramic hollow-fiber membranes. The highest purity of 96% was achieved with the concentrate after precipitating with 70% alcohol. Key factors for the resource efficiency of the overall process are addressed. It is concluded that extraction with subcritical water and ultrafiltration are promising technologies for producing hemicelluloses from fruit residues for material applications.