Characterization of Residues from Chilean Blueberry Bushes: A Potential Source of Cellulose

Claudia Marcela Pacheco, Cecilia Bustos, Guillermo Reyes, María Graciela Aguayo, Orlando J. Rojas

Abstract


Chile is the second largest global producer of blueberries, which are harvested in the south-central region. As a result of the exponential production growth, a large amount of lignocellulosic biomass is generated from pruning and left on the ground as waste. As an alternative to the current incineration practices and their negative air pollution effects, this study proposed value-added utilization of these agroindustry residues. The chemical compositions (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, extractives, and ash) of the pruning residues from blueberry branches and trunks were analyzed. The cellulose contents from the branches and trunks were similar at 52% and 51%, respectively. However, the X-ray diffraction analysis indicated important differences in their crystallinity index, with 52% and 84%, respectively. Compared with the cellulose obtained from the trunks, cellulose from the branches was less thermally stable, possibly due to the presence of residual lignin and hemicellulose. According to the results, it is expected that the agro-industrial residues from pruning of the Chilean blueberry bushes (branches and trunks) might be of use as a potential platform for bioproducts, such as cellulose materials in order to replace synthetic or unsustainable materials.

Keywords


Blueberry bushes; Pruning residues; Cellulose; Chemical compounds; Crystallinity

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