Nuevos estudios para mejorar la utilización industrial del bagazo de la cerveza

Researches of IRNAS-CSIC, led by José C. del Río, Ana Gutiérrez and Jorge Rencoret, have recently published the first detailed description of the lignin polymer of brewer´s spent grain (BSG), the solid waste residue generated during the brewing process. This residue accounts for around 30% (w/w) of the barley grain, making it a readily available, high volume and low cost by-product within the brewing industry that can be regarded as a potentially valuable resource for the production of new added-value products. Although BSG is produced in important amounts from brewing companies worldwide, with an estimated production of around 30 million tons per year, the major part of these residues still remain mostly underexploited. However, there is a trend nowadays for the more efficient utilization of the lignocellulosic residues generated from agro-forest and alimentary industries as feedstocks to produce new value-added products in the context of the so-called lignocellulosic biorefinery. In this context, the development of new techniques and procedures for a more appropriate valorization and industrial exploitation of this agro-industrial waste is of major importance since BSG is widely available at low-cost and in large amounts. However, for an appropriate valorization of BSG as a source of added-value products and in order to explore newer applications and maximizing the use of the existing technologies, a comprehensive characterization of the different components of BSG is of high interest. In this study, an in-depth and comprehensive characterization of the lignin polymer in BSG has been performed. For this purpose, three different lignin preparations, the so-called ‘milled-wood’ lignin, dioxane lignin and cellulolytic lignin, were isolated from BSG and then thoroughly characterized by pyrolysis GC/MS, 2D-NMR and chemical degradative methods. The knowledge of the composition and structure of BSG lignin will help maximizing the industrial utilization of this important agro-industrial waste material and to design effective deconstruction strategies for biorefinery purposes.

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The study has been published in the January issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Rencoret J., Prinsen P., Gutiérrez A., Martínez A.T. and del Río J.C. (2015) Isolation and structural characterization of the milled wood lignin, dioxane lignin, and cellulolytic lignin preparations from brewer´s spent grain. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 63 (2), 603-613. (DOI: 10.1021/jf505808c)

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