XYLITOL PRODUCTION FROM WINERY WASTES
Xylitol is a natural sweetener usually employed as a substitute of sugar due to its less-damaging properties to health. At the Centre of Biological Engineering (Universidade do Minho) a yeast was developed with the ability to produce xylitol from xylose at high yields. Lignocellulosic xylan-rich materials, such as forestry and agricultural wastes, could be used as substrates in this process and, accordingly, xylan to xylose conversion was optimised by means of green technologies, such as hydrothermal treatments and eutectic solvents. Thanks to these advancements, xylitol productions above 70 g/L were reached, with yields near 100%. This technology is now being adapted to the use of winery by-products: vine shoots from pruning activities are a promising source of xylan, whereas hexose-rich feedstocks, such as grape must and grape pomace, could play an important role as a co-substrate for the yeast.
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