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Chemical volatiles present in cotton gin trash: A by-product of cotton processing

by Mary A. Egbuta, Shane McIntosh, Daniel L. E. Waters, Tony Vancov, Lei Liu

Cotton gin trash (CGT), a waste product of cotton gins, make up about 10% of each bale of cotton bolls ginned. The current study investigates high value volatile compounds in CGT to add value to this by-product. The volatile compounds in CGT and different parts of the cotton plant were extracted using various methods, identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and then quantified by gas chromatography-flame ionisation detection (GC-FID) against available standards. Terpenoids including monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids were found to be the most abundant, making up 64.66% (area under peak) of total volatiles extracted by hydro-distillation. The major extractable terpenoids in CGT were α-pinene (13.69–23.05 μg/g), β-caryophyllene (3.99–74.32 μg/g), α-humulene (2.00–25.71 μg/g), caryophyllene oxide (41.50–102.08 μg/g) and β-bisabolol (40.05–137.32 μg/g). Recoveries varied between different extraction methods. The terpenoids were found to be more abundant in the calyx (659.12 μg/g) and leaves (627.72 μg/g) than in stalks (112.97 μg/g) and stems (24.24 μg/g) of the cotton plant, indicating the possible biological origin of CGT volatiles. This study is the first to identify and quantify the different terpenoids present in CGT and significantly, β-bisabolol, an abundant compound (sesquiterpene alcohol) which may have valuable biological prospects. These findings therefore contribute to identifying alternative management strategies and uses of CGT.

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