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Title: Development of food-related materials from cotton byproducts

item Cheng, Huai
item Dowd, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/11/2012
Publication Date: 12/11/2012
Citation: Cheng, H.N., Dowd, M.K. 2012. Development of food-related materials from cotton byproducts. In: Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting United States–Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources (UJNR), Food and Agriculture Panel, December 8-12, 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 1-2.

Interpretive Summary: Most of the value of cotton is in the fiber, used primarily in textiles. However, cotton byproducts can have significant commercial value as well. The purpose of this work is to increase the value of cotton byproducts through suitable chemical reactions. In the first project, the goal is to convert cotton burr and cottonseed hull into carboxymethyl cellulose and hemicellulose. Hull and burr are currently used in relatively low-value applications such as roughage in animal feed, mulch or soil conditioner (hull), and fuel for boilers in cotton plants, fertilizer or soil conditioner (burr). Since carboxymethyl cellulose is a well known food additive selling in excess of $2/lb, the new derivatives may perhaps be cheaper alternatives to carboxymethyl cellulose. Another cotton byproduct is cottonseed oil. For many applications, the oil is hydrogenated in order to decrease the olefinic content, increase melting characteristics, and improve oxidative stability. A concern relating to all hydrogenated edible oils is the enhanced levels of saturated and trans fatty acids (TFAs), both undesirable in view of health implications. Because of its lower cost and higher commercial volume, most of the recent research activities are directed towards soybean oil. We showed in this work that with suitable reaction conditions, hydrogenated cottonseed oil actually produces lower levels of TFA and saturated fats. Thus, cottonseed oil can be a healthier alternative to soybean oil.

Technical Abstract: A number of food-related projects are ongoing at the Commodities Utilization Research Unit at the USDA ARS Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC). Two research projects that utilize raw materials from the cotton plant are reviewed in this work. The first project entails the conversion of cotton burr and cottonseed hull into carboxymethyl cellulose and hemicellulose. In the second project cottonseed oil is hydrogenated using 11 commercial Ni, Pd, and Pt catalysts. The results indicated that with the commercial catalysts hydrogenated cottonseed oil contains less trans fatty acids and saturated fats relative to hydrogenated soybean oils.