Exploration of Cucumber Waste as a Potential Biorefinery Feedstock

Yang Gao*, Hannah K. Briers, Avtar S. Matharu, Jiajun Fan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The exploration of cucumber waste as a potential biorefinery feedstock is reported. Initially, extractives (essential oils) were isolated from cucumber waste via vacuum microwave hydro-distillation (VMHD). The yield and quality of the extractive were compared with respect to traditional hydro-distillation (HD). The essential oils were obtained over a range of microwave power (500, 750, 1000 W) and vacuum pressures (100, 200, 300 mbar). The highest quality (0.49 wt %) was obtained at a microwave irradiation power of 500 W and a vacuum of 300 mbar. VMHD is much quicker and more energy-efficient than HD. Within the context of a zero-waste biorefinery, the extractive-free residues were the solid residues from two different extraction methods were compared and characterized by ATR-IR, 13C solid-state NMR spectroscopy, SEM, TGA, and CHN elemental analysis. The resultant residues are cellulosic-rich, and no significant changes were observed with VMHD and HD treatment. The results indicated that the utilization of these residues can provide an efficient, inexpensive, and environment-friendly platform for the production of cellulosic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2694
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is financially supported by the EPSRC (grant number EP/R51181X/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • biorefinery
  • cellulosic materials
  • cucumber
  • essential oils
  • hydro-distillation
  • vacuum microwave hydro-distillation

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