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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Integral Fractionation of Rice Husks into Bioactive Arabinoxylans, Cellulose Nanocrystals, and Silica Particles

Requena, Raquel; Jimenez-Quero, Amparo; Vargas, Maria; Moriana, Rosana; Chiralt, Amparo; Vilaplana, Francisco


Rice husk is an important agricultural by-product that has not been exploited yet to full capacity for advanced applications. The feasibility of obtaining high-value products such as bioactive hemicelluloses and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) from rice husk is here demonstrated in a cascade biorefinery process using subcritical water extraction (SWE) prior to bleaching and acid hydrolysis and compared to traditional alkali pretreatments. The proposed SWE process enables the isolation of bioactive arabinoxylans with phenolic acid moieties, thus preserving their antioxidant and anti- bacterial properties that are lost during alkaline conditions. Bioactive Additionally, SWE can be combined with subsequent arabinoxylan Silica particles bleaching and acid hydrolysis to obtain CNCs with large aspect ratio, high crystallinity, and thermal stability. The hydrothermal process also enables the recovery of silica particles that are lost during the alkali step but can be recovered after the isolation of the CNCs. Our biorefinery strategy results in the integral valorization of rice husk into their molecular components (bioactive arabinoxylans, cellulose nanocrystals, and silica particles), which can be used as additives for food applications and as reinforcing agents in biocomposite materials, respectively.


Rice husk; Subcritical water extraction; Xylans; Cellulose nanocrystals; Biorefinery

Published in

ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
2019, Volume: 7, number: 6, pages: 6275-6286

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Polymer Technologies

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