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Valorisation of industrial waste : extraction of bioactive compounds from Brewer’s spent grain
Brewer’s spent grain (BSG), a solid residue obtained from brewing beer, is gaining attention in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry due to its use as natural source of colorants, texturisers, functional ingredients and preservatives. It is therefore necessary to develop an economically viable method for the extraction, isolation or enrichment of these compounds. Although literature shows the technical feasibility of extraction of bioactive compounds from BSG at laboratory bench scale, none of the reviewed literature could provide adequate information necessary to determine the economic feasibility of the process at commercial scale. The aim of this study was to investigate the technical and economic viability of a commercial process for the recovery of antioxidant rich polyphenolic compounds from brewers spent grain using organic solvents and/or water. The objectives were to select the best solvent, perform the optimisation and kinetic study, as well as to model and simulate the extraction process with the aim of performing an economic analysis. In selecting the best solvent, maceration and soxhlet extraction were used for the recovery of polyphenolic compounds. Acetone and acetone: water mixtures, ethanol and ethanol: water mixtures as well as pure water were used as solvents. The evaluation of the best solvent was measured by the total phenolic content (TPC), flavonol content, the antioxidant activity using 2.2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay. The study performed optimisation for various operational parameters (time, temperature, solvent to feed ratio and shaking speed) using response surface method. The effect of temperature on the extraction kinetics was also investigated with experiments being carried out at 20°C, 40°C and 80°C. Antioxidant activity was detected in all BSG extracts, but water showed the highest global yield and rates of extraction. The optimum conditions were found at 15 min reaction time, temperature of 40 °C, shaking speed of 185 rpm and solvent to solid ratio of 27.5: 1. So-Macdonald model was a suitable fit for the experimental data with a R2-value range of (0.85 < r2 < 0.995). A processing scenario was proposed as a base case, upon which subsequent scenarios were generated to improve the operation or the economics. SuperPro Designer® (Intelligen, Inc) was used for modelling the proposed process, for simulation and for the economic evaluation. Four alternative schemes from the base case simulation were developed for optimisation of the process. The process was found to be economically feasible and attractive with a return of investment (ROI) of 48.45 % for alternative scheme 4. The results in this thesis highlight the likely economic feasibility of the extraction of polyphenolic compounds from BSG at commercial scale by the maceration method.