Sugarcane Straw Polyphenols as Potential Food and Nutraceutical Ingredient

Foods. 2022 Dec 13;11(24):4025. doi: 10.3390/foods11244025.


The sugarcane processing industry generates a large amount of straw, which has a negative environmental impact, and high costs are associated with their elimination, wasting their potential bioactive value attributed to their richness in polyphenols. In this study, an ethanolic extract produced from sugarcane straw was screened for its phenolic compounds content, and the potential use of this extract in the development of a food ingredient was further evaluated. Fifty different secondary metabolites belonging to the hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and flavonoids were identified by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-ultrahigh-resolution-quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-UHR-QqTOF-MS). The predominant phenolic compounds found were 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, chlorogenic acid, and 5-O-feruloylquinic acid. The obtained extracts showed strong potential as food preservatives by exhibiting (a) antioxidant activity using both 2.2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) diammonium salt radical cation (ABTS) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) methods; and (b) antimicrobial capacity, with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 50 mg/mL for Staphylococcus aureus, 74% inhibition for Bacillus cereus, and 44% for Salmonella enterica; and (c) the capacity to inhibit a food browning enzyme, tyrosinase (28-73% for 1-8 mg/ mL). Moreover, the extracts showed antidiabetic potential by inhibiting the enzymes α-glucosidase (15-38% for 1.25-5.00 mg/mL) and dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) (62-114% for 0.31-5.00 mg/mL). The extract (0.625 mg/mL) also exhibited the capacity to reduce proinflammatory mediators (i.e., interleukins 6 and 8, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) when Caco-2 cells were stimulated with interleukin 1 beta. Thus, sugarcane straw extract, which is rich in phenolic compounds, showed high potential to be used in the development of food-preservative ingredients owing to its antioxidant and antimicrobial potential, and to be explored as a food supplement in diabetes prevention and as coadjuvant to reduce intestinal inflammation by reducing proinflammatory mediators.

Keywords: Saccharum officinarum L.; anti-inflammatory; antidiabetic; antityrosinase; phenolic compounds; straw.

Grants and funding

This research was funded by Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER) with a grant number POCI-01−0247-FEDER-027578.