Bioactive sugarcane lipids in a circular economy context

Francisca S. Teixeira, Susana S. M. P. Vidigal*, Lígia L. Pimentel*, Paula T. Costa, Manuela E. Pintado, Luís M. Rodríguez-Alcalá

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Most of the global sugar and ethanol supply trade comes from the harvesting of Saccharum officinarum (i.e., sugarcane). Its industrial processing results in numerous by-products and waste streams, such as tops, straw, filter cake, molasses and bagasse. The recovery of lipids (i.e., octacosanol, phytosterols, long-chain aldehydes and triterpenoids) from these residues is an excellent starting point for the development of new products for various application fields, such as health and well-being, representing an important feature of the circular economy. By selecting green scalable extraction procedures, industry can reduce its environmental impact. Refluxed ethanol extraction methods have been demonstrated to meet these characteristics. On the other hand, effective non-solvent methodologies such as molecular distillation and supercritical CO2 extraction can fractionate lipids based on high temperature and pressure application with similar yields. Sugarcane lipophilic extracts are usually analyzed through gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) techniques. In many cases, the identification of such compounds involves the development of high-temperature GC–MS/FID techniques. On the other hand, for the identification and quantification of thermolabile lipids, LC–MS techniques are suitable for the separation and identification of major lipid classes. Generically, its composition includes terpenes, phytosterols, tocopherol, free fatty acids, fatty alcohols, wax esters, triglycerides, diglycerides and monoglycerides. These compounds are already known for their interesting application in various fields such as pharma and cosmetics due to their anti-hypercholesterolemic, anti-hyperglycemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1125
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Anti-hypercholesterolemic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Bioactive lipids
  • Circular economy
  • Fatty alcohols
  • Phytosterols
  • Sugarcane
  • Terpenes
  • Tocopherols


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