Beneficiation of cactus fruit waste seeds for the production of cellulose nanostructures: Extraction and properties

Anass Ait Benhamou, Zineb Kassab, Abdelghani Boussetta, Mohamed Hamid Salim, El Houssaine Ablouh, Mehdi Nadifiyine, Abou El Kacem QAISS, Amine MOUBARIK, Mounir El ACHABY

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Scopus citations


    Cactus fruit waste seeds (CWS) are a by-product of the cactus fruit processing industry. Until now, CWS are not recoverable in any sector. The valorization of these residues may reduce their volume in the environment and transform them into valuable products. In this work, CWS have been identified for the first time as a sustainable lignocellulosic source. Cellulose microfibers (CMFs) and nanocrystals (CNCs) were successfully produced via alkali and bleaching treatments followed by sulfuric acid hydrolysis. It was found that the extracted CMFs showed an average diameter of 11 μm, crystallinity of 72%, and a yield of 25%. The as-produced CNCs exhibited a needle-like shape with a diameter of 13 ± 3 nm and length of 419 ± 48 nm, giving rise to an aspect ratio of 30.7, with a zeta potential value of – 30 mV and a charge content of sulfate groups of 287.8 mmol·kg−1. Herein, the obtained cellulosic derivatives with excellent properties from this underutilized waste can draw the attention of researchers towards CWS as a new type of biomass with virtually no hemicellulose, which could be of great interest to isolate and study the effects of how lignin interacts with cellulose.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)302-311
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


    • Acid hydrolysis
    • Cactus waste seeds
    • Cellulose
    • Chemical composition
    • Opuntia ficus indica
    • Rheology


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