Purification of agave fiber by a hydrothermal method

  • S.J. Guevara-Martínez
  • M.C. Chávez-Parga
  • J. Espino-Valencia
  • M. Arroyo-Albiter
Keywords: agave fiber, microfiber, cellulose, hydrothermal process.


The bagasse of agave tequilana Weber is a lignocellulosic waste generated by the tequila production process. Purification of agave fiber was carried out by evaluating the effect of temperature and reaction time on the hydrothermal process. Hydrolysis was carried out in a high pressure digester, temperature 140°C, the process was standardized using 3.5 g of fiber previously dried, a solution of 0.5 M nitric acid (HNO3) in deionized water and reaction time of 6 h, the developed pressure inside the system caused the release of organic material such as hemicellulose and lignin from the cellulose microfiber grid that forms the structure of agave bagasse. Overall, a yield of 326 g/kg dry matter was obtained; equivalent to 48% of the theoretical value, this method is a promising alternative to treat this type of waste.


Abdul Khalil, H. P. S., Bhat, A. H., Ireana Yusra, A. F. (2012). Green composites from sustainable cellulose nanofibrils: A review.Carbohydrate Polymers, 87, 963–979. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2011.08.078

Åkerholm, M., Salmén, L. (2001). Interactions between wood polymers studied by dynamic FT-IR spectroscopy. Polymer, 42, 963–969. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0032-3861(00)00434-1

Ausias, G., Bourmaud, A., Coroller, G., Baley, C. (2013). Study of the fibre morphology stability in polypropylene-flax composites. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 98, 1216–1224. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.POLYMDEGRADSTAB.2013.03.006

Barana, D., Salanti, A., Orlandi, M., Ali, D. S., Zoia, L. (2016). Biorefinery process for the simultaneous recovery of lignin, hemicelluloses, cellulose nanocrystals and silica from rice husk and Arundo donax. Industrial Crops and Products, 86, 31–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INDCROP.2016.03.029

Bessadok, A., Langevin, D., Gouanvé, F., Chappey, C., Roudesli, S., Marais, S. (2009). Study of water sorption on modified Agave fibres. Carbohydrate Polymers, 76, 74–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2008.09.033

Bledzki, A. K., Franciszczak, P., Osman, Z., Elbadawi, M. (2015). Polypropylene biocomposites reinforced with softwood, abaca, jute, and kenaf fibers. Industrial Crops and Products, 70, 91–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INDCROP.2015.03.013

Breton-Deval, L., Méndez-Acosta, H. O., González-Álvarez, V., Snell-Castro, R., Gutiérrez-Sánchez, D., Arreola-Vargas, J. (2018). Agave tequilana bagasse for methane production in batch and sequencing batch reactors: Acid catalyst effect, batch optimization and stability of the semi-continuous process. Journal of Environmental Management, 224, 156–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JENVMAN.2018.07.053

Escoto-García, T., Vivanco-Castellanos, E. M., Lomelí-Ramírez, M. G., Arias-García, A. (2006). Fermentative – chemical and mechanical treatment of agave bagasse (agave tequilana weber) for its application in hand crafted paper. Revista Mexicana de Ingeniería Química, 5(1), 23-27. http://www.rmiq.org/iqfvp/Pdfs/Vol.%205,%20Supl.%201/5.pdf

Espinosa-Andrews, H., Urias-Silvas, J. E. (2012). Thermal properties of agave fructans (Agave tequilana Weber var. Azul). Carbohydrate Polymers, 87, 2671–2676. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CARBPOL.2011.11.053

García-Amador, R., Hernández, S., Ortiz, I., Cercado, B. (2019). Use of hydrolysate from agave bagasse for bio-hydrogen production in microbial electrolysis cells. Revista Mexicana de Ingeniería Química, 18(3), 865-874. https://doi.org/10.24275/uam/izt/dcbi/revmexingquim/2019v18n3/Garcia

Garcia-Soto, M. J., Jiménez-Islas, H., Navarrete-Bolaños, J. L., Rico-Martinez, R., Miranda-López, R., Botello-Álvarez, J. E. (2011). Kinetic study of the thermal hydrolysis of agave salmiana for mezcal production. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59, 7333–7340. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf200026y

Gassan, J., Bledzki, A. K. (2001). Thermal degradation of flax and jute fibers. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 82, 1417–1422. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.1979

Hidalgo-Reyes, M., Caballero-Caballero, M., Hernández-Gómez, L. H., Urriolagoitia-Calderón, G. (2015). Chemical and morphological characterization of <em>Agave angustifolia</em> bagasse fibers. Botanical Sciences, 93, 807. https://doi.org/10.17129/botsci.250

Kalia, S., Avérous, L., Njuguna, J., Dufresne, A., Cherian, B. M. (2011). Natural Fibers, Bio- and Nanocomposites. International Journal of Polymer Science, 2011, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/735932

Kestur G., S., Flores-Sahagun, T. H. S., Dos Santos, L. P., Dos Santos, J., Mazzaro, I., Mikowski, A. (2013). Characterization of blue agave bagasse fibers of Mexico. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 45, 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.COMPOSITESA.2012.09.001

Kim, I., Lee, B., Park, J.-Y., Choi, S.-A., Han, J.-I. (2014). Effect of nitric acid on pretreatment and fermentation for enhancing ethanol production of rice straw. Carbohydrate Polymers, 99, 563–567. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CARBPOL.2013.08.092

Krishania, M., Kumar, V., Sangwan, R. S. (2018). Integrated approach for extraction of xylose, cellulose, lignin and silica from rice straw. Bioresource Technology Reports, 1, 89–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BITEB.2018.01.001

Langhorst, A., Paxton, W., Bollin, S., Frantz, D., Burkholder, J., Kiziltas, A., Mielewski, D. (2019). Heat-treated blue agave fiber composites. Composites Part B: Engineering, 165, 712–724. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesb.2019.02.035

López-López, A., Davila-Vazquez, G., León-Becerril, E., Villegas-García, E., Gallardo-Valdez, J. (2010). Tequila vinasses: generation and full scale treatment processes. Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 9, 109–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11157-010-9204-9

Mondragon, G., Fernandes, S., Retegi, A., Peña, C., Algar, I., Eceiza, A., Arbelaiz, A. (2014). A common strategy to extracting cellulose nanoentities from different plants. Industrial Crops and Products, 55, 140–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.02.014

Montoya-Rosales, J. de J., Olmos-Hernández, D. K., Palomo-Briones, R., Montiel-Corona, V., Mari, A. G., Razo-Flores, E. (2019). Improvement of continuous hydrogen production using individual and binary enzymatic hydrolysates of agave bagasse in suspended-culture and biofilm reactors. Bioresource Technology, 283, 251–260. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2019.03.072

Moreno-Vilet, L., Moscosa-Santillán, M., Grajales-Lagunes, A., González-Chávez, M., Bonnin-Paris, J., Bostyn, S., Ruiz-Cabrera, M. (2013). Sugars and Fructans Separation by Nanofiltration from Model Sugar Solution and Comparative Study with Natural Agave Juice. Separation Science and Technology (Philadelphia), 48, 1768–1776. https://doi.org/10.1080/01496395.2013.786729

Naranjo, C. D. D., Alamilla-Beltrán, L., Gutiérrez-Lopez, G. F., Terres-Rojas, E., Solorza-Feria, J., Romero-Vargas, S., Yee-Madeira, H. T., Flores-Morales, A., Mora-Escobedo, R., Naranjo, C. D. D., Alamilla-Beltrán, L., Gutiérrez-Lopez, G. F., Terres-Rojas, E., Solorza-Feria, J., Romero-Vargas, S., Yee-Madeira, H. T., Flores-Morales, A., Mora-Escobedo, R. (2016). Aislamiento y caracterización de celulosas obtenidas de fibras de Agave salmiana aplicando dos métodos de extracción ácido-alcali. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Agrícolas, 7, 31–43. http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2007-09342016000100031&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=pt

Nava-Cruz, N. Y., Medina-Morales, M. A., Martinez, J. L., Rodriguez, R., Aguilar, C. N. (2015). Agave biotechnology: an overview. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, 35, 546–559. https://doi.org/10.3109/07388551.2014.923813

Navaee-Ardeh, S., Mohammadi-Rovshandeh, J., Pourjoozi, M. (2004). Influence of rice straw cooking conditions in the soda–ethanol–water pulping on the mechanical properties of produced paper sheets. Bioresource Technology, 92, 65–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2003.07.006

Nour, M. H., Smith, E. H., Walther, J. V. (2004). Spectroscopic evidence of silica-lignin complexes: Implications for treatment of non-wood pulp wastewater. Water Science and Technology, 50, 157–166. https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2004.0186

Panthapulakkal, S., Zereshkian, A., Sain, M. (2006). Preparation and characterization of wheat straw fibers for reinforcing application in injection molded thermoplastic composites. Bioresource Technology, 97, 265–272. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2005.02.043

Rios-González, L. J., Morales-Martínez, T. K., Rodríguez-Flores, M. F., Rodríguez-De la Garza, J. A., Castillo-Quiroz, D., Castro-Montoya, A. J., Martinez, A. (2017). Autohydrolysis pretreatment assessment in ethanol production from agave bagasse. Bioresource Technology, 242, 184–190. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2017.03.039

Robles, E., Fernández-Rodríguez, J., Barbosa, A. M., Gordobil, O., Carreño, N. L. V., Labidi, J. (2018). Production of cellulose nanoparticles from blue agave waste treated with environmentally friendly processes. Carbohydrate Polymers, 183, 294–302. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CARBPOL.2018.01.015

Rodríguez, A., Moral, A., Sánchez, R., Requejo, A., Jiménez, L. (2009). Influence of variables in the hydrothermal treatment of rice straw on the composition of the resulting fractions. Bioresource Technology, 100, 4863–4866. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2009.04.030

Ruiz, H. A., Conrad, M., Sun, S.-N., Sanchez, A., Rocha, G. J. M., Romaní, A., Castro, E., Torres, A., Rodríguez-Jasso, R. M., Andrade, L. P., Smirnova, I., Sun, R.-C., Meyer, A. S. (2020). Engineering aspects of hydrothermal pretreatment: From batch to continuous operation, scale-up and pilot reactor under biorefinery concept. Bioresource Technology, 299, 122685. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2019.122685

Sain, M., Panthapulakkal, S.(2006). Bioprocess preparation of wheat straw fibers and their characterization. Industrial Crops and Products, 23, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INDCROP.2005.01.006

Santos, R. P. O., Rodrigues, B. V. M., Ramires, E. C., Ruvolo-Filho, A. C., Frollini, E. (2015). Bio-based materials from the electrospinning of lignocellulosic sisal fibers and recycled PET. Industrial Crops and Products, 72, 69–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INDCROP.2015.01.024

Satyanarayana, K. G., Monteiro, S. N., Lopes, F. P. D., Margem, F. M., Santafe, H. P. G., da Costa, L. L. (2011). Dimensional Analysis and Surface Morphology as Selective Criteria of Lignocellulosic Fibers as Reinforcement in Polymeric Matrices. In S. Kalia, B. S. Kaith, & I. Kaur (Eds.), Cellulose Fibers: Bio- and Nano-Polymer Composites: Green Chemistry and Technology (pp. 215–240). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-17370-7_8

Saucedo-Luna, J., Castro-Montoya, A. J., Martinez-Pacheco, M. M., Sosa-Aguirre, C. R., Campos-Garcia, J. (2011). Efficient chemical and enzymatic saccharification of the lignocellulosic residue from Agave tequilana bagasse to produce ethanol by Pichia caribbica. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, 38, 725–732. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10295-010-0853-z

Singha, A. S., Guleria, A. (2014). Use of Low Cost Cellulosic Biopolymer Based Adsorbent for the Removal of Toxic Metal Ions from the Aqueous Solution. Separation Science and Technology, 49, 2557–2567. https://doi.org/10.1080/01496395.2014.929146

Thamae, T., Baillie, C. (2007). Influence of fibre extraction method, alkali and silane treatment on the interface of Agave americana waste HDPE composites as possible roof ceilings in Lesotho. Composite Interfaces, 14, 821–836. https://doi.org/10.1163/156855407782106483

Ting, S. V. (1956). Rapid Colorimetric Methods for Simultaneous Determination of Total Reducing Sugars and Fructose in Citrus Juices. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 4, 263–266. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf60061a009

Torres-Tello, E. V., Robledo-Ortíz, J. R., González-García, Y., Pérez-Fonseca, A. A., Jasso-Gastinel, C. F., Mendizábal, E. (2017). Effect of agave fiber content in the thermal and mechanical properties of green composites based on polyhydroxybutyrate or poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate). Industrial Crops and Products, 99, 117–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.INDCROP.2017.01.035

Yang, Q., Pan, X. (2012). Pretreatment of Agave americana stalk for enzymatic saccharification. Bioresource Technology, 126, 336–340. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIORTECH.2012.10.018

How to Cite
Guevara-Martínez, S., Chávez-Parga, M., Espino-Valencia, J., & Arroyo-Albiter, M. (2020). Purification of agave fiber by a hydrothermal method. Revista Mexicana De Ingeniería Química, 20(1), 333-344. https://doi.org/10.24275/rmiq/Mat1926