Agave tequilana Bagasse as Source of Cellulose Nanocrystals via Organosolv Treatment

Javier Abraham Hernández, Víctor Hugo Romero, Alfredo Escalante, Guillermo Toriz, Orlando J. Rojas, Belkis Coromoto Sulbarán


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were isolated from Agave tequilana residues derived from ethanol production. Hemicelluloses and lignin extraction from agave bagasse was carried out via organosolv (ethanol/acetic) digestion followed by conventional sulfuric acid hydrolysis. The ethanol/acetic acid treatment resulted in cellulose yields of approximately 67% after lignin and ash removal. Compared to soda and sodium chlorite treatments with organosolv, the time and chemical load needed for delignification were remarkably reduced. The morphology of the cellulose fiber obtained in the three treatments was between 0.55 and 0.62 mm, with which CNC was obtained in the order of 83 to 195 nm in length. It is noteworthy that the longest cellulose fibers and nanocrystals were obtained from organosolv cellulose. The organosolv treatment led to a high purity cellulose, derived CNCs with a minimum energy consumption and mild chemical usage, and also considered the use of material streams associated with distillation processes. Thus, a viable alternative is suggested for the production of high quality CNC from widely available residual biomass that otherwise poses environmental and health-related risks.


Agave bagasse; Isolation; Green chemistry; Cellulose nanocrystals; Tequila; Residual biomass; Bagasse

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