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Semi-continuous hydrolysis of onion skin wastes with subcritical water: pectin recovery and oligomers identification
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 2022, V. 10, n. 3, 107439
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The semi-continuous hydrolysis of onion skin wastes (OSW) using subcritical water (SubW; working conditions: 105-180 ºC; 5 MPa; 2.5 mL/min) has been studied in this work. Liquids after hydrolysis showed a sharp increase in total organic carbon (>30 mg/g OSW) at temperatures above 145 ºC, when SubW began to promote the partial hydrolysis of the structural components of OSW. Among them, pectin was one of main components recovered (extraction yield up to 9% at 145 ºC), whereas cellulose was barely hydrolyzed in the range of temperatures studied. The composition of pectin demonstrated that SubW promoted the recovery of the valuable RG-I (21.1±1.1 mol %) regions compared to acid water extraction processes (10.8±0.9 mol %). The control of the hydrolysis conditions was found to be critical, since high temperatures and long hydrolysis times led to the formation of organic acids (acetic, formic and levulinic) and degradation products such as furfural (up to 0.8 mg/g OSW) from the C5 sugars. Finally, the High Heating Value (HHV) calculated for the solid residue obtained at 180 ºC (16.4±0.2 MJ/kg) indicated the potential use of this residue as a fuel, once the valuable compounds (phenolics and pectins) have been recovered.
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