A Sugarcane-based Biorefinery: Development of high value nutraceuticals using chromatographic methods


Crushing one ton of sugarcane results in about 40 kg of filter press mud and about 250 kg of sugarcane bagasse (SCB). The filter press mud is usually discarded or used as compost while bagasse is used for its fuel value. It is well known that these residues contain high-value micro and macro-nutrients. These include nutraceutical compounds such as policosanols (linear chain alcohols) that have been shown to possess health benefits in relation to Parkinson’s treatment and cholesterol-lowering ability. Rare sugars such as xylose and arabinose obtainable from Bagasse also find applications in food and health industry. In this work, we propose to develop continuous chromatographic methods to extract and purify octacosanol and other policosanols from press mud after the extraction step thereby enabling the filter press mud, a reject from the sugar industry to be monetized.  SMBC is an implementation of continuous chromatographic separation, which involves solid stationary and fluid mobile phases. SMB is increasingly being used to convert pharmaceutical batch separations to continuous owing to the advantages of higher productivity and lower use of solvent.