Research Highlights

Cellulose nanocrystals from jackfruit peel

doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.152 Published online 18 November 2019

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Researchers have produced spherical cellulose nanocrystals from jackfruit peel1 that could potentially be used for making glowing films, greenhouse plastics and flexible foams.

Previous studies had isolated cellulose nanocrystals from banana peels, jute, brown seaweed and corn husk. None of these studies, however, extracted cellulose nanocrystals from jackfruit peel waste.

To do this, scientists from the Sastra Deemed to be University in Tamil Nadu, India dried and powdered jackfruit peel, which is non-edible and usually discarded. They then removed cellulose from the jackfruit peel by treating it with sodium chlorite.

Analysis revealed that the isolated cellulose was thermally stable. Sophisticated imaging techniques showed that the jackfruit peel contains curled and flat-shaped cellulose with rough pits. The curled shape provides a high surface area that favours the preparation of various composites.  

They further treated the cellulose with acid and water, yielding spherical cellulose nanocrystals. Such nanocrystals are used in the fields of food, paper, paints, optics, environmental remediation and the syntheses of various composites. The isolated cellulose and nanocrystals from jackfruit peel waste can be used for such diverse fields.

Jackfruit peel is neither fit for human consumption nor for animal feed. When disposed at landfills, it generates only solid wastes that cause pollutions.

Since jackfruit is widely cultivated across India, its peel is renewable and sustainable, and is a cheap biomass for producing valuable second-generation products, the researchers say.


References

1. Trilokesh, C. et al. Isolation and characterization of cellulose nanocrystals from jackfruit peel. Sci. Rep. 9:16709 (2019)