Sugarcane waste as a valuable source of lipophilic molecules

Thomas M. Attard, C. Rob McElroy, Camila A. Rezende, Igor Polikarpov, James H. Clark, Andrew J. Hunt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extraction of high-value products from agro-industrial waste is an important component for the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. In this work, natural wax extraction was carried out on different types of sugarcane waste (rind, leaf and bagasse) using supercritical CO<inf>2</inf> (scCO<inf>2</inf>). Substantial quantities of long-chain aldehydes and n-policosanols (nutraceutical compounds) were found in the rind (83% of total composition). Interestingly, the wax obtained from the leaf residues varied from other types of waxes from sugarcane waste, with low aldehyde and n-policosanol contents (normally found in high quantities) and considerable amounts of high-value triterpenoids (169±6mg/g wax), which have well-known medicinal properties. The use of sugarcane leaf residues for the extraction of waxes has not been previously considered, though the amount of these residues increased significantly after the switch to green harvesting. Sugarcane bagasse wax showed the highest ester composition (37±1.5mg/g of wax), which can be useful in a host of applications, ranging from cosmetics to hard wax polishes, lubricants, coatings and plasticisers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2015


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Extraction
  • Sugarcane
  • Supercritical
  • Wax

Cite this