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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Flax Processing: Use of Waste Streams for Profit

item Himmelsbach, David
item Holser, Ronald

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2008
Publication Date: 7/21/2008
Citation: Himmelsbach, D.S., Holser, R.A. 2008. Flax Processing: Use of Waste Streams for Profit. Proceedings of 2008 International Conference on Flax & Other Bast Plants. July 21-23, Saskatoon, Canada. 2008.

Interpretive Summary: Fiber processing operations generate waste streams that contain natural compounds with potential commercial value. The recovery of these valuable compounds as co-products from the process waste were examined and the compound structures were characterized. These compounds can be developed into biobased products with antimicrobial, antioxidant, or other desirable functions. The isolation and recovery of these compounds will improve process economics by providing an additional revenue source and complement the initiative in sustainable agriculture.

Technical Abstract: The waste streams generated by flax fiber processing represent potential sources of value-added co-products that can enhance profits and provide direct economic support for the flax industry. These waste streams include the dust, shive, retting wash water, and waste cellulose. Fatty alcohols (policosanols) and long chain waxes (C40-C60 esters) can be extracted from waste fractions containing cuticular tissues and surface waxes. These compounds have potential industrial, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical applications and may be recovered by conventional or emerging green separation techniques. Shive, which is the most heavily lignified material, can be a source of aromatic compounds of various types which have potential uses as antimicrobials, antioxidants, and resins. The remaining cellulosic material, free of aromatics and surface waxes, can be saccharified and converted by fermentation to produce ethanol as a biofuel.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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