A Simplified Biorefinery Concept for the Valorization of Sugar Beet Pulp: Ecofriendly Isolation of Pectin as a Step Preceding Torrefaction

  • Giuseppina Adiletta
  • Paola BrachiEmail author
  • Evelina Riianova
  • Alessio Crescitelli
  • Michele Miccio
  • Natalia Kostryukova
Original Paper


The valorization of sugar beet pulp (SBP) from sugar industry as a source of valuable substances has been taken in consideration in this work. In particular, the eco-friendly extraction of pectins with citric acid has been adopted as a preliminary step in a simplified biorefinery concept where the pectin-free solid is subsequently subjected to a torrefaction treatment for its upgrading into a commodity solid biofuel. An extensive physicochemical characterization of the raw feedstock and the isolated pectins has also been performed, which may be useful to identify suitable application routes. Results show that the extraction conditions [1.5 pH, 90 °C, 4 h contact time and SBP-to-solvent ratio of 1:30 (g/mL)] selected in this work allow obtaining a relatively high yield (25% wt, db) of high methoxyl pectins (with some impurities), which exhibit the same colorimetric characteristics of commercial citrus pectins and are not conducive to microbial growth. A further purification step of isolated pectins is required to improve the emulsifying properties.

Graphical Abstract


Sugar beet pulp Agro-industrial residues Bio-chemicals Bio-fuels Citric acid extraction Pectin 



Sugar beet pulp


Pectin-extracted sugar beet pulp


Higher heating value


Lower heating value


Titratable acidity


Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy


Scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-Ray


Esterification degree




Emulsifying activity


Emulsified layer volume


Whole sample volume


Low Methoxyl Pectin


High methoxyl pectin


Alcohol-insoluble residue



The authors are grateful to the Dr. Luigi Vertuccio (University of Salerno) for the valuable support to perform FT-IR analyses and the Dr. Cortese Luciano (IRC-CNR) for providing expertise and access to SEM–EDX facilities. The financial support from the Russian Ministry of Education is acknowledged (Grant No. 6444280-4403ES/1 of September 2, 2016). Special thanks are given to COPROB (Cooperativa Produttori Bieticoli) for the feedstock supply.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SalernoFiscianoItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Research on CombustionNational Research CouncilNapoliItaly
  3. 3.Republic of BashkortostanUfa State Aviation Technical UniversityUfaRussian Federation
  4. 4.Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM) of the National Council of Research (CNR)NapoliItaly

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