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Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

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Trends in Food Science & Technology

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Integrated processing of plant-derived waste to produce value-added T

products based on the biorefinery concept
Qing Jina, Liangcheng Yangb, Nicholas Poea, Haibo Huanga,∗
Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
Department of Health Science, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 61790, USA


Keywords: Background: Plant-derived wastes from agriculture, processing, distribution, and retail are generated in large
Plant-derived waste quantities. The majority of the wastes are underutilized and may cause severe environmental problems if not
Biorefinery properly handled. The plant-derived wastes are usually rich in lignocellulose and other valuable compounds
Value-added products including protein, fat, sugar, and phytochemicals. Valorization of these compounds in food waste not only re-
Techno-economic analysis
duces environmental concerns but also improves sustainability and economic competitiveness of agro-food in-
Environmental assessment
Social assessment
Scope and approach: This review paper first discussed different phases of the biorefinery concepts and their
associated applications, and then introduced recent advances in the integrated processing of plant-derived waste
for producing various value-added products. Finally, techno-economic, environmental, and social assessments
along with relevant policies were introduced and discussed.
Key findings and conclusions: During the past ten years, research attentions focused on integrated utilization of
plant-derived waste to produce various products have flourished. Compared to production of a single component
for food waste valorization, integrated processing of food waste via a combination of different novel technologies
to produce multiple products based on a biorefinery concept has significant advantages, including full utilization
of feedstocks, minimization of waste generation during processing, synergy effects of different technologies, and
diversification of the revenues by covering multiple markets. With the rationale design of biorefinery processes,
underutilized plant-based wastes can be valuable resources for the sustainable production of food, chemicals,
and biofuels. However, detailed economic, environmental, and social analyses for the biorefinery process are still
needed in the future.

1. Introduction Food waste creates disposal problems and potentially pollutes the
environment, meantime causing abundant loss of valuable nutrients.
Food waste is currently an important issue, both in developing Food waste has been traditionally recycled as animal feed and fertili-
countries and developed countries. Food waste is defined as end pro- zers, or landfilled with other wastes. However, the increasing demand
ducts of various food processing industries that have not been recycled for environmental protection, together with the desire for resource
or used for other purposes (Garcia-Gonzalez et al., 2015). These end conservation, are encouraging more efficient valorization of food waste
products have economic values less than the cost of recovery; thus, they for the production of value-added food ingredients, chemicals, and
are discarded as waste. It is estimated that about 1.2 billion tonnes of biofuels (Lin et al., 2013). Through developing innovative approaches
foods are lost or wasted globally, representing approximately one-third for valorizing food waste, the food industry can reduce the pressure of
of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption (FAO, waste treatment and improve the sustainability of food production.
2011). The causes of these wastes include mechanical damage and/or Although the sources of food waste are highly diverse, they can be
spillage during agricultural production; degradation during storage and classified, based on the original materials, into two main groups (i.e.
transportation; grading, washing, peeling, slicing, extrusion, and can- plant- and animal-derived wastes), and can be subdivided into fruits
ning during food processing; spoilage at market system such as super- and vegetables, cereals, oil crops, root and tubers, meat products, fish
markets and retailers, and at household level (FAO, 2011; Galanakis, and seafood, and dairy products (FAO, 2011; Galanakis, 2012). Be-
2012). tween the two main groups, plant-derived waste represents the larger

Corresponding author. Human & Agricultural Biosciences Bldg.1, Room 402J, 1230 Washington St. SW, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.
E-mail addresses: (Q. Jin), (L. Yang), (N. Poe), (H. Huang).
Received 19 August 2017; Received in revised form 24 January 2018; Accepted 12 February 2018
Available online 15 February 2018
0924-2244/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

Abbreviation GAE Gallic acid equivalent

GHG Greenhouse gas
ABE Acetone-butanol-ethanol GWP Global warming potential
ADP Abiotic depletion potential LCA Life cycle assessment
AFEX Ammonia fiber expansion MAE Microwave-assisted extraction
BSG Brewer's spent grain MHG Microwave hydrodiffusion and gravity
CNCs Cellulose nanocrystals ODP Ozone layer depletion potential
DDGS Distiller's dried grains with solubles PHAs Polyphydroxyalkanoates
DW Dry weight PHB Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)
EFB Empty fruit bunches UAE Ultrasound-assisted extraction
FAMEs Fatty acid methyl esters VFAs Volatile fatty acids

portion (63%) of the whole food supply chain, when compared with produce multiple products based on a biorefinery concept has been
animal-derived waste (Pfaltzgraff, Cooper, Budarin, & Clark, 2013). emerged to solve the complex food waste problem.
Plant-derived waste presents a major source of carbohydrates, lipids, Biorefinery is defined as the integrated and sustainable processing
proteins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. Therefore, there is great of biomass into various marketable chemicals, materials, fuels, and
potential to recover these compounds or convert them to valuable power (Cherubini et al., 2007). The biorefinery concept was firstly
products through novel processes. As food waste is complex in structure derived from the petroleum refinery, in which different technologies
and constituents, valorizing food waste in a profitable way is a highly were used to produce multiple chemicals and fuels from petroleum. In
multidisciplinary problem; a single technology is usually not sufficient the biorefinery concept, hybrid technologies from various fields, in-
enough to fully solve this complex problem (Tuck, Pérez, Horváth, cluding agriculture, chemistry, engineering, and microbiology, are ap-
Sheldon, & Poliakoff, 2012). Therefore, integrated processing of food plied to an integrated process to separate biomass into its building
waste via a combination of different novel technologies to recover and blocks, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and oils. These compounds can

Fig. 1. Corn dry grind biorefinery (phase I), corn wet milling biorefinery (phase II), and plant-derived biomass biorefinery (phase III).

Table 1
Facilities, scale, input and output of the biorefinery of plant-derived waste to value-added products.
Q. Jin et al.

Crop Facilities Scale/size Input Output Country Reference

Citrus waste 10-L high-pressure reactor, atmospheric Lab- and pilot-scale/2 kg Citrus waste, water, sulfuric acid, heat, electricity, steam, -Limonene, pectin, ethanol, biogas
D Sweden (Pourbafrani et al.,
pressure expansion tank, centrifuge, shaker, slurry with 15% solid S. cerevisiae, nutrients, ethanol 2010)
bioreactor, municipal waste digester content
Grape pomace Supercritical CO2 extraction, rotary Lab- and pilot-scale/ Grape pomace, CO2, ethanol, water, NaOH, nitrogen, Polyphenols, volatile fatty acids, Italy (Martinez et al.,
evaporator, centrifuge, anaerobic digester 480 g acidogenic microbial consortium, Cupriavidus necator, polyhydroxyalkanoates, methane 2016)
glucose, nutrients, methanogenic microbial consortium,
Tomato peels and Grinder, supercritical CO2 extraction, Lab-scale/10 g Tomato peels and seeds, CO2, NaOH, water, N2, Oils, carotenoids, proteins, sugars, Tunisia (Kehili et al., 2016)
seeds magnetic stirrer, centrifuge, stainless steel electricity cellulose, lignin
reactor, water bath, oven
Wheat straw Reactor, continuously stirred tank reactor Pilot-scale/120–150 kg Wheat straw, water, S. cerevisiae, enzyme, acetate buffer, Bioethanol, biohydrogen, biogas Denmark (Kaparaju et al.,
DM/h capacity nutrients, N2, digested manure, electricity 2009)
Corn distiller's US standard sieve N20, ultrasonic Lab-scale/150 g Corn distiller's dried grains, H2SO4, water, heat, Arabinose-rich stream, xylose-rich stream The U.S. (Fonseca et al.,
dried grains homogenizer, 6-L percolation reactor electricity 2014)
Rice husk and Blender, Buchner filtration, magnetic Lab-scale/10 g of each Rice husk and A. donax, HCl, NaOH, water, ethanol, Hemicellulose A, hemicellulose B, silica, Italy (Barana et al.,
Arundo donax stirrer, centrifuge, rotary evaporator, biomass acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, H2SO4, cellulose nanocrystals, lignin 2016)
sonication electricity
Olive mill waste Extractor (14 dm3), gravity separator Lab- and pilot-scale/7 kg Olive mill waste, ethanol, N2, air, heat, water, electricity Polyphenols, mono/poly-unsaturatefatty Italy (Schievano et al.,
(5 dm3), cyclonic separator (3 dm3), acids, fuels, biochar 2015)
condenser, heat exchangers, ball mill
Rapeseed straw, Incubator, batch reactor, vacuum pump, Lab-scale Rapeseed straw, cake, and glycerol, H2O2, NaOH, steam, Ethanol, hydrogen, methane Denmark, (G. Luo et al., 2011)
cake, glycerol forced-air oven, 5-L continuously stirred water, sodium citrate buffer, enzyme, nitrogen, digested China
tank reactor manure, electricity
Cassava peels Shaker, biogas endeavor system bioreactor, Lab-scale/50 g Cassava peels, S. cerevisiae, NaOH, enzymes, manure Ethanol, methane Sweden (Moshi et al., 2015)
water-jacketed glass bioreactor, suction inoculum, electricity

Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131
Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

be further converted to other value-added products such as platform The advantage of choosing this type of product is that the direct pro-
chemicals, energy, and biofuels (Cherubini, 2010). Compared to ob- ducts already have existing market value, thus the likelihood of the
taining a sole product with conventional processing, biorefinery pro- product acceptance is high on the market (FitzPatrick, Champagne,
cessing of food waste to produce multiple value-added products has Cunningham, & Whitney, 2010). Different from the direct product, an
several significant advantages, including (a) full utilization of feed- indirect product is a newly developed product with a similar function to
stocks, thus minimizing waste generation during processing; (b) di- an existing product in the market (Clark et al., 2006). However, to make
versification of the revenues by covering multiple markets/niches; (c) an indirect product successful in the existing market, instead of per-
synergy effects of different technologies; (d) sharing manpower and forming similar functions, the indirect product should also have other
equipment; and (e) potential achievements of energy self-efficiency via advantages such as lower cost or properties which are not found in the
biogas production or inert fiber material burning. During the past ten existing products (FitzPatrick et al., 2010). Besides producing final
years, research attentions focused on integrated utilization of plant- products, processes for obtaining intermediate chemicals can also be
derived waste to produce various products have flourished. Thus, the promising, because these compounds can be coupled into the existing
overall objective of this review is to summarize the latest integrated chemical production facilities and converted to higher value-added
processing routes as they have been applied on various types of plant- chemicals (FitzPatrick et al., 2010). For example, butanol, a widely-
derived waste or byproducts; in the meantime, economic, environ- used intermediate chemical for producing acrylate and acetate, was
mental, and social assessments along with the relevant policies re- recently successfully produced from food wastes via anaerobic fer-
garding the biorefinery processing of plant-derived wastes are also in- mentation (H. Huang, Singh, & Qureshi, 2015).
troduced and discussed. The design of biorefinery processing routes needs to be considered
thoroughly. In order to convert feedstock into several value-added
2. Biorefinery concept products in an integrated process, different technological processes
such as mechanical, chemical, thermochemical, and biochemical pro-
Biorefinery can be divided into three phases (I, II, and III) regarding cesses are normally jointly applied. Table 1 summarizes several ex-
biomass, targeted products, and processes used (Kamm & Kamm, 2004). amples of converting plant-derived wastes to value-added products, the
A phase I biorefinery has almost no flexibility during the whole process; corresponding facilities, scales, inputs and outputs are included to
it normally uses one type of biomass, one process, and one targeted better illustrate the biorefinery processing routes. Mechanical treatment
product. For example, in dry grind ethanol process, corn is milled, is commonly used in the first step for size reduction. Such technologies
saccharified, and fermented to ethanol (Fig. 1A). The fixed process include pressing, milling, and pelletization. This process usually does
converts 1 bushel (56 lb.) of corn to 2.6–2.8 gal of ethanol not affect the composition of biomass but only change the particles size
(Kwiatkowski, McAloon, Taylor, & Johnston, 2006). There is little and shape, which could improve the mass transfer characteristics, en-
flexibility in the process. In phase II biorefinery, more products can be zymatic hydrolysis, and biodegradability of biomass in following steps
produced during the process. An example of this phase is the corn wet (Menon & Rao, 2012). Chemical processes such as acidic or basic hy-
milling process (Fig. 1B), in which various products such as starch, drolysis, transesterification, hydrogenation, and oxidation are applied
lactic acid, ethanol, corn syrup, and corn oil are produced. The spec- to change the chemical structures of biomass (Cherubini, 2010). For
trum of products from the corn wet milling process can substantially example, vegetable oils can be converted to biodiesel by transester-
improve the overall economic performance of the biorefinery process. ification. Thermochemical processes are often used to produce syngas
When the ethanol market is weak, a corn wet milling plant can still by gasification (> 700 °C), liquid pyrolytic oil and solid charcoal by
make profits by producing other products (corn oil, starch, syrup, etc.); pyrolysis (300–600 °C) (Cherubini, 2010). As to biochemical processes,
however, it is very difficult for a corn dry grind plant to remain at the enzymatic conversion, anaerobic digestion, and fermentation are
same profit. A phase III biorefinery has an even higher flexibility than a mostly used in biorefinery processing. Structural compounds such as
phase II biorefinery (Fig. 1C). It is not only able to produce multiple cellulose and hemicellulose in biomass can be enzymatically hydro-
value-added products, but also use different types of feedstocks and lyzed to their component sugars, including glucose and xylose. These
processing methods. This is very important for the integrated proces- monosaccharides are then used to produce biofuels such as ethanol,
sing of food waste, whose supply is usually highly seasonal. The cap- hydrogen, and butanol, as well as organic acids such as succinic acid
ability of using different types of feedstocks can ensure a stable supply through fermentation.
for the process during the whole year, thereby improving the economic
feasibility of food waste valorization. 3. Biorefinery of plant-derived waste
Biomass feedstock, final products, and routes (technologies) to
convert biomass to final products are three key points in a biorefinery Large amounts of plant-based waste are generated annually from
design. Biomass has a complex chemical composition, which is similar agricultural activities and subsequent food processing (Table 2). The
to the petroleum. Plant biomass is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, largest portion of plant-based waste is from the non-grain part of crops,
fats, lignin, vitamins, minerals, aromatic compounds, and dyes (Kamm such as wheat straw, rice straw, and corn stover. The high availability
& Kamm, 2004). Different types of biomass have different physical and relatively stable composition of these agricultural byproducts make
properties and chemical compositions, which largely determine pos- them promising feedstocks in large-scale industrial biorefineries (Kamm
sible final products and technologies used in the biorefinery process. & Kamm, 2004). The second largest food waste is from the beverage
Thus, it is important to develop a data base of physical property and industry, which generates a large amount of pomace, such as grape
chemical composition for the development of biorefinery of food pomace and apple pomace. Besides plant fibers, the pomace contains
wastes. Furthermore, different biomasses can be combined together for considerable quantities of high-value functional compounds, such as
biofuels and biomaterials production. For example, fermentation media polyphenols, essential oils, and vitamins (Martinez et al., 2016; Yates,
should contain carbon, nitrogen, vitamins, minerals, and other trace Gomez, Martin-Luengo, Ibañez, & Serrano, 2017).
elements, while only one type of biomass may not provide all of them. Table 3 summarizes the compositions of different plant-derived
Therefore, it is advantageous to combine different types of feedstocks wastes. It should be noted that the exact composition of a particular
that contain complementary and necessary compounds. waste may vary from different regions or processing methods. For ex-
As to the choice of final products from a biorefinery process, there ample, the composition of polyphenols in grapes depends on variety,
are direct and indirect product substitution approaches. The direct climate, and soil, thus the polyphenol compositions of corresponding
product from a biorefinery means that the final product exists on the waste produced during wine production are different. In addition, dif-
market, and needs to be produced through a newly developed process. ferent technologies used in winemaking also produce waste with

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

discrepant compositions. For instance, Ganimede fermentation resulted

(Đilas, Čanadanović-Brunet, & Ćetković, 2009; FAO,

(Đilas et al., 2009; FAO, 2016a; Moates et al., 2016)

(Đilas et al., 2009; FAO, 2016a; Moates et al., 2016)

2016a; Moates, Sweet, Bygrave, & Waldron, 2016)

(FAO, 2016a; Moates et al., 2016; Waldron, 2014)

Moates et al., 2016; Waldron, 2014)

(FAO, 2016a; Moates et al., 2016; Nelson, 2010)

in higher content of anthocyanins compared to traditional fermentation

(FAO, 2016a; Onipe, Jideani, & Beswa, 2015)

methods in wine, thus leading to different polyphenol compositions in
winey waste such as grape pomace (Bai et al., 2013).
The major structure of plant-derived waste consists of cellulose,
hemicellulose, and lignin (Knauf & Moniruzzaman, 2004). Cellulose can

(FAO, 2016a; Kim & Dale, 2004)

Kim & Dale, 2004)

Kim & Dale, 2004)
be used to produce biofuels, organic acids, and nano-cellulose mate-

Waldron, 2014)
rials. Hemicellulose can be degraded to xylose, and then xylite and
furfural, which are valuable chemical products. Lignin is used as nat-
ural binder and adhesives; moreover, valuable compounds such as
phenols can be derived from lignin (Kamm & Kamm, 2004). Besides

structural compounds, other reserves rich in plant-derived waste in-

(FAO, cluding sugars, proteins, and oils, and phytochemicals also show po-
tential for various applications and are worthy of recovery. Proteins in
plant-derived waste with well-balanced essential amino acids can be
High volumes produced worldwide, rich

introduced to food to enhance sensory and functional properties. For

High volumes worldwide, rich in fibers

High volumes worldwide, rich in fibers

High volumes worldwide, rich in fibers
High volumes worldwide, rich in fibers
High volumes, widespread production,

High volumes, rich source of lycopene

High volumes, rich in phenols, fibers

High volumes, rich in essential oils,

example, soy protein has been used in imitation cheese, soy milk, and
processing facilities, rich in starch,
rich in polyphenols, pectin, fibers

High volumes worldwide, rich in

whipped toppings (Oreopoulou & Tzia, 2007). Phytochemicals, such as

High volumes from centralized

polyphenols and carotenoids, have been related to health promoting

in polyphenols, oils, fibers
pectin, polyphenols, fibers

effects including lowering cholesterol and lipid oxidation (O'Shea,

Arendt, & Gallagher, 2012). Besides health promoting effects, the ad-
Reason for selection

polyphenols, fibers

dition of these antioxidant compounds into food matrices can extend

their shelf life and delay the formation of off-flavors of food products
(Oreopoulou & Tzia, 2007, pp. 209–232). Vegetable oils in plant-de-
rived waste can be used to derive sugar-based surfactants (e.g., alkyl

polyglucosides) with low toxicity and good detergent properties com-

pared to traditional surfactants derived from fossil oil (Foley, Beach, &
polyphenols and oils extraction

Zimmerman, 2011). Therefore, more research is focusing on the ex-

Animal feed, pectin extraction

Animal feed, compost, pectin

Compost, heat and electric

traction, purification, and production of valuable chemicals, materials,

and biofuels from plant-derived wastes.
Animal feed, compost,

Animal feed, compost

Animal feed, compost

Current management

power generation

3.1. Fruits and vegetables

Animal feed

Animal feed
Animal feed

Animal feed
Animal feed

Fruit and vegetable wastes are generated by agriculture, post-har-

vest grading, and mass discarded by consumers in industrialized regions
such as North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. In developing re-
gions, such as North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast
Mainly in China, India, Indonesia,
Mainly in Europe, China, the U.S.

Mainly in China, India, Germany,

Asia, and Latin America, fruit and vegetable wastes are mainly pro-
Mainly in China, India, Europe,

Mainly in China, India, Russia,

Mainly in Spain, Greece, Italy,

duced at the front end of the food supply chain such as harvesting and
Mainly in Europe, the U.S.,
Mainly in Brazil, the U.S.,

storage (FAO, 2011). It is estimated that 10–20% of fruit and vegetable

Mainly in the U.S., China

Russia, Ukraine, the U.S.

Geographical location

wastes are generated during agriculture and post-harvest stages, and

Mediterranean basin

15–20% of wastes are generated due to processing (FAO, 2011). Cur-

Australia, China

rently, most of the fruit and vegetable wastes are used as low-value

animal feed and only a small portion of the wastes is used as feedstock

for the extraction of phytochemicals, soluble and insoluble dietary fi-


bers (Galanakis, 2012).

3.1.1. Citrus
Citrus fruits are among the most abundant crops worldwide, with
Estimated production volume
Plant-derived waste streams appropriate for biorefinery process.

about 121 million tonnes produced annually (FAO, 2015). The in-
30 (Mediterranean basin)

dustrial utilization of these citrus fruits for juice production results in

4.3 (the U.S., Canada)
(million tonnes/year)

5.0–9.0 (worldwide)

3.0–4.2 (worldwide)

354.35 (worldwide)

203.62 (worldwide)
731.34 (worldwide)

large quantities of waste. Citrus wastes include peels, pulps and seeds,
15.6 (worldwide)

110 (worldwide)
90 (worldwide)

which represent about 50% of the fruit weight (Bampidis & Robinson,
2006). Citrus wastes are good sources for sugars, oils, polyphenols,
4 (Europe)

enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, there is huge potential of

the integrated utilization of citrus wastes to produce multiple high-
value products (Ángel Siles López, Li, & Thompson, 2010).
Pourbafrani et al. developed an integrated process using citrus
Potato byproducts
Citrus peels, pulp,

Olive mill residue

Tomato pomace

waste to obtain multiple value-added products: D-limonene, ethanol,

Grape pomace

Apple pomace
Waste stream

Wheat straw
Wheat bran

pectin, and biogas (Fig. 2A) (Pourbafrani, Forgács, Horváth, Niklasson,

Corn stover
Rice straw
Rice husk

& Taherzadeh, 2010). In this process, the citrus waste was pretreated

with dilute-acid at high pressure to hydrolyze the biomass, followed by

explosive pressure reduction resulting in the release of D-limonene

(8.9 L/ton) from the hydrolysates. The remained hydrolysates were

Table 2




then centrifuged, where the liquid part was used to obtain pectin
(38.8 kg/ton) by solvent precipitation and ethanol (39.6 L/ton) by

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

Table 3
Chemical compositions in plant-derived waste.

Plant-derived Plant structure (% of dry matter) Plant reserves (% of dry matter) References
Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignin Pectin Protein Fat Sugar Other valuable

Mandarin peel 22.5 6.0 8.6 16.0 7.5 1.6 10.1 (Marín, Soler-Rivas, Benavente-García, Castillo, &
Pérez-Alvarez, 2007)
Orange peel 37.08 11.04 7.52 23.02 9.06 4.00 9.57 4.50 (Flavonoid) (Pfaltzgraff et al., 2013)
Citrus pulp 20.9 0.4 0.31 6.7 79.0 1.56 (Phenolics) (Miron, Yosef, & Ben-Ghedalia, 2001)
Grapefruit peel 26.57 5.60 11.6 8.5 12.5 0.5 8.1 (Marín et al., 2007)
Grape pomace 9.2–14.5 4.0–10.3 11.6–17.2 5.4–5.7 7.0–14.5 (Zheng et al., 2012)
Apple pomace 43.6 24.4 20.4 11.7 (Nawirska & Kwaśniewska, 2005)
Pear pomace 34.5 18.6 59.3 13.4 (Nawirska & Kwaśniewska, 2005)
Carrot pomace 51.6 12.3 32.2 3.88 0.9 0.2 (Nawirska & Kwaśniewska, 2005)
Wheat straw 32.0–49.0 23.0–39.0 5.0–19.0 2.0–6.0 (Mielenz, Bardsley, & Wyman, 2009)
Wheat bran 13.0 35.5 2.84 17.3 70.3 6.51 (Phenolics) (Miron et al., 2001)
Brewer's spent 21.73 19.27 19.40 24.69 0.65 (Phenolics) (Meneses, Martins, Teixeira, & Mussatto, 2013)
Corn stover 31.0–41.0 20.0–34.0 16.0–23.0 4.0–9.0 (Mielenz et al., 2009)
Soybean hull 51.2 15.9 1.48 10.1 81.0 4.19 (Phenolics) (Miron et al., 2001)
Beet pulp 29.7 12.9 3.35 8.77 76.2 4.87 (Phenolics) (Miron et al., 2001)

fermentation, respectively. The stillage from the distillation of ethanol consists about 50% skin, 25% seed, and 25% stem (Martinez et al.,
and the remaining solids were combined to produce biogas (45 m3/ton) 2016). Grape pomace contains large amounts of polyphenols, lipid,
via anaerobic digestion. Similarly, Boluda-Aguilar and López-Gómez proteins, fiber, and minerals (Zheng et al., 2012). Da Porto et al. applied
applied steam-explosion on lemon peels to get essential oils, followed ultrasound-assisted extraction method to obtain oils (14%, w/w) and
by sequential and simultaneous hydrolysis and fermentation to obtain polyphenols (105.2 mg GAE/g flour) from grape pomace (Da Porto,
galacturonic acid and ethanol (Boluda-Aguilar & López-Gómez, 2013). Porretto, & Decorti, 2013). Martinez et al. applied the supercritical CO2
The results showed that more than 60 L ethanol was produced from extraction to recover polyphenols (2.7 g/100 g dry biomass) in red
1000 kg of fresh lemon peels based on the designed process. grape pomace. The resulting dephenolised residue was then sent to
Another study conducted by Balu et al. used microwave for ob- anaerobic digestion, producing a liquid stream rich in volatile fatty
taining four major fractions (cellulose, pectin, bio-oils, and sugars) from acids (20 g/L). This liquid stream was then used as a substrate to pro-
orange peels (Balu et al., 2012). Specifically, orange peels were treated duce polyhydroxyalkanoates (accumulated up to 63% of the cells dry
with microwave, followed by filtration to obtain solid cellulose (9%, weight when fed with 40% acidic effluent) by Cupriavidus necator. Fi-
DW). The filtrate was washed by ethanol to recover pectin (8%, DW). nally, all the solid leftover obtained before underwent an anaerobic
The bio-oils (7%, DW) were extracted from the liquid residue by liquid- digestion to obtain a methane-rich biogas (113 mL/g fed volatile solids)
liquid extraction with ethyl acetate, and all solvents used in this pro- (Fig. 2C) (Martinez et al., 2016).
cedure were collected and then evaporated to get sugars (26%, DW). The biorefinery concept was also applied on wine lees, which are
Boukroufa et al. applied microwave, ultrasound, and the recycled “in the residues obtained at the bottom of tanks after wine fermentation,
situ” water of orange peels to obtain essential oils (346 g/100 kg), during storage, or after centrifuge or filtration of wine (Pérez-Serradilla
polyphenols (11.7 g/100 kg), and pectin (4.8 kg/100 kg) from orange & De Castro, 2011). In the study of Dimou et al. wine lees were cen-
peels. This biorefinery process reduced time, energy, and waste water trifuged, and the liquid part was distilled to get ethanol. For the solid
generation (Fig. 2B) (Boukroufa, Boutekedjiret, Petigny, part, organosolv extraction was applied to recover antioxidants, and the
Rakotomanomana, & Chemat, 2015). Similar technology was also ap- residual solid was treated with HCl to solubilize tartaric acid. Finally,
plied on pomelo, orange, and lemon peels to get essential oils and the solid residue after tartaric acid extraction and the ethanol free li-
pectin (Chen, Hu, Yao, & Liang, 2016; Fidalgo et al., 2016). quid part were combined as the feedstock for enzymatic lysis of yeast
cells to generate nutrients for further poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) pro-
duction by aerobic fermentation (Fig. 2D) (Dimou et al., 2015).
3.1.2. Grape
Grape is the world's second largest fruit crop with an annual pro-
duction of more than 60 million tonnes. About 80% of grapes are used
3.1.3. Apple
to produce wine, which is one of the most important alcoholic bev-
The world production of apples was over 70 million tonnes in 2015
erages in the world, with an increasing demand to 25 billion liters
(Yates et al., 2017). Approximately 25–30% of the apples are used to
(Oreopoulou & Tzia, 2007). Winery wastes can be divided into four
produce juice, and the leftover of juice extraction called apple pomace
categories: grape stalks, grape pomace (marc), wine lees, and waste
is normally used as animal feed or compost (Dhillon, Kaur, & Brar,
water. Many components such as dietary fibers, polyphenols, grape
2013; Yates et al., 2017). Since apple pomace contains valuable com-
seed oil, and tartrates can be separated from winery waste (Oreopoulou
pounds such as carbohydrates, pectin, and polyphenols, there is an
& Tzia, 2007).
increasing global trend towards the efficient utilization of apple po-
Grape stalks as the wastes of vineyards are composed of high con-
mace. Recently, Yates et al. used apple pomace to produce various
centrations of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose which, if fractio-
value-added compounds including sugars, polyphenols, pectin, and
nated, can be an excellent renewable carbon source. Amendola et al.
biomaterials which can be used as biocompatible scaffolds in tissue
applied autohydrolysis pretreatment on grape stalks followed by a non-
engineering (Yates et al., 2017). In the integrated process, apple po-
catalysed ethanol organosolv extraction of the solid residue (Amendola
mace was first extracted by water to get polyphenols and sugars (2%,
et al., 2012). Ethanol was used to precipitate hemicellulose in the au-
DW), followed by citric acid treatment, and then precipitated with
tohydrolysis liquor, while acid was used to precipitate lignin from both
ethanol to get pectin (10%, DW). The solid residue was further used to
autohydrolysis liquor and organosolv liquid.
produce the biocompatible material for osteoblasts and chondrocytes.
Grape pomace, the main solid waste generated during winemaking,

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

Fig. 2. The flow diagrams of value-added products produced from citrus waste (Pourbafrani et al., 2010), orange peels (Boukroufa et al., 2015), grape pomace (Martinez et al., 2016), and
wine lees (Dimou et al., 2015).

3.1.4. Tomato hemicellulose to monomer and oligomer sugars.

Millions tonnes of tomato are processed every year to produce to-
mato juice, paste, and concentrate (Kehili et al., 2016). During pro-
3.2. Cereals
cessing, about 4% of the total processed tomatoes are produced as by-
products, including tomato peels and seeds, which are rich in sugars,
Cereal grains, the most important sources of calories for the ma-
polyphenols, proteins, oils, and organic acids (Del Valle, Cámara, &
jority of the world's population, have been the primary food source for
Torija, 2006). Kehili et al. developed a biorefinery cascade process for
human since thousands of years ago (ElMekawy, Diels, De Wever, &
producing value-added products from tomato byproducts (Kehili et al.,
Pant, 2013). The cereal production in 2012 reached 2087 million
2016). The authors used supercritical CO2 technology to extract car-
tonnes. For each kg of cereal grains harvested, about 1–1.5 kg of cobs,
otenoids inside the oil fraction of tomato peels and seeds. The residue
straws, and other residues are produced, leading to large amounts of
obtained after supercritical CO2 extraction was used to extract protein
cereal waste (ElMekawy et al., 2013). Among different cereals, wheat is
by alkali solubilization and acid precipitation. After that, the protein
the major crop in Europe, North America and Oceania, and In-
free residue was treated by hot water to hydrolyze cellulose and
dustrialized Asia. However, in low-income regions such as densely

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

populated region of South and Southeast Asia, rice is the major crop liquefaction followed by fermentation was conducted on the solid
(FAO, 2011). leftovers to produce bioethanol (0.41 g/g glucose). The dark fermen-
tation of the hydrolysate was conducted to obtain biohydrogen
3.2.1. Wheat (178 mL/g sugars). Finally, the effluents from both bioethanol and
About 21% of the global food supply depends on wheat, and the biohydrogen processes were combined together to produce biogas
production is still increasing to meet the growing demand (Ortiz et al., (0.32–0.38 m3/kg volatile solids) (Fig. 3A). In another study, wheat
2008). During harvesting, wastes such as wheat straw are left on the straw was pretreated with 15% NH4OH at 65 °C for 15 h, removing 48%
field. Other byproducts such as wheat bran, germ, and parts of the of the original lignin, leaving 98%, 83%, and 78% of the original
endosperm are generated during wheat milling (Dorado et al., 2009). glucan, xylan, and arabinan, respectively. After that, the solid was
Wheat straw mainly consists of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. treated with hemicellulase to get a liquid fraction rich in xylose and a
Kaparaju et al. used wheat straw to produce bioethanol, biohydrogen, solid fraction rich in cellulose. Candida mogii and Phaffia rhodozyma
and methane based on the biorefinery concept (Kaparaju, Serrano, were then inoculated into the liquid part to produce xylitol (0.51 g/g
Thomsen, Kongjan, & Angelidaki, 2009). In particular, wheat straw was xylose consumed) and astaxanthin (1.98 mg/g total sugar consumed),
pretreated hydrothermally to get a liquid fraction (hydrolysate) rich in respectively; the solid part was used to conduct simultaneous sacchar-
hemicellulose and a solid fraction rich in cellulose. After that, ification and fermentation process to produce ethanol (57 g/L) (Zhang

Fig. 3. The flow diagrams of value-added products produced from wheat straw (Kaparaju et al., 2009), rice and Arundo donax (Barana et al., 2016), olive mill waste (Schievano et al.,
2015), potato peels and mash (Chintagunta et al., 2016).

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

& Nghiem, 2014). Celiktas, Kirsch, and Smirnova (2014) designed a then treated with NaOH and further fractioned into hemicellulose B,
cascade process to utilize wheat bran (Celiktas et al., 2014). In this cellulose nanocrystals, lignin, and silica (Fig. 3B).
study, 1.98 g/L protein was extracted from wheat bran in a fixed bed
reactor, followed by hemicellulose generation using hot water hydro- 3.3. Oil crops
lysis. The solid residue rich in cellulose was then treated by enzyme to
obtain soluble sugars, resulting in the final solid rich in lignin. Among all oil crops cultivated around the world, olives are abun-
dant in West and Central Asia, North America; rapeseeds and sunflower
3.2.2. Corn seeds are the major crops consumed in Europe; soybeans are the
In 2015, the world production of corn was estimated at 1026 million dominating crops supplied in North America, Oceania, and
tonnes, with the U.S. China, and Brazil the thee leading countries in Industrialized Asia (FAO, 2011). As to the oil crop wastes, about 6–20%
production (FAO, 2016b). The main components in corn are starch, of the wastes are generated during agricultural production, followed by
protein, fiber, and oil; therefore, corn is traditionally used as human post-harvest and processing processes (FAO, 2011). For example, after
food or animal feed. During the last ten years, corn has been increas- oil extraction, a large amount of oil pressed cakes remains, which
ingly used as feedstock to produce ethanol, a renewable biofuel. In the contain substantial quantities of protein, minerals, residual oil, and
U.S. 38.4% and 37.6% of total corn produced in 2015 were used for other nutrients. These compounds can be recovered and reused in the
ethanol production and as animal feed, respectively (USDA, 2017). Dry food industry (Tamer & Çopur, 2014).
grind fermentation is the most popular process used for converting corn
to ethanol. During dry grind fermentation, corn is milled, saccharified, 3.3.1. Olive
and fermented to ethanol using yeast (Fig. 1A). The unfermentable According to the report of International Olive Council, the olive oil
residues, including protein, fiber, and oil are collected and dried as production reached 2.9 million tonnes globally during 2012–2013
distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Usually, processing each (FAO, 2014). The production of olive oil generates approximately four
kg of corn results in 0.37–0.4 L of ethanol and 0.31–0.32 kg of DDGS (H. times more wastes than the commercial oil, which is a heavy burden for
Huang, Liu, Singh, Danao, & Eckhoff, 2012). the industry as well as the environment. Among the wastes generated
DDGS has been long-time used as a source of carbohydrates, pro- during olive oil production, olive mill waste is the one that has drawn
tein, and oil for animal feed. However, the increase in DDGS production attention to many researchers.
is expected to drive its value down, thus, there is a great interest to use Schievano et al. has proposed an integrated biorefinery concept for
DDGS as a starting raw material for the production of commodities, the utilization of olive mill waste to produce polyphenols, mono/poly-
platform molecules or specialty chemicals with concomitant economic unsaturated fatty acids, and biofuels (Schievano et al., 2015). The au-
benefits. One approach is to convert fibers, mainly cellulose and thors used the supercritical CO2 technology with ethanol as the co-
hemicellulose, to sugars for ethanol production. Bals et al. applied solvent to extract polyphenols (10.9 g/kg), poly-unsaturated fatty acids
ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX) process to pretreat DDGS, followed by (20 g/kg), and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (601 g/kg). The remaining
enzymatic hydrolysis to produce sugars for ethanol fermentation (Bals, dry solid leftovers were pyrolyzed and activated to get fuel and biochar
Dale, & Balan, 2006). At the optimal condition, 190 g glucose could be (Fig. 3C). Furthermore, the same group applied KOH and CO2-activated
produced from each kg of dry DDGS; meanwhile producing a protein biochar to treat contaminated water. As a result, 1 g activated sorbent
enriched residue as advanced animal feed. In another study, DDGS was material could absorb upward of 400 mg metals including Cd, Co, Cu,
processed with dilute acid hydrolysis in a percolation reactor to selec- and Zn. Moreover, 75% of the adsorption ability reached in less than
tively extract high purity pentoses (Fonseca, Lupitskyy, Timmons, 5 min (Goldfarb et al., 2016).
Gupta, & Satyavolu, 2014). After process optimization, a 94% yield of
pentoses on the DDGS was obtained, resulting in arabinose-rich and 3.3.2. Rapeseed
xylose-rich streams using a two-stage hydrolysis. After the pentose ex- The rapeseed plant is normally used for the production of vegetable
traction, the remaining hexoses could be further processed to produce oil for human consumption, animal feed, and biodiesel synthesis
glucose for ethanol fermentation. This process could be coupled into an (López-Linares et al., 2014). Over 34 million hectares of rapeseed were
integrated biorefinery process of DDGS for production of biofuels, cultivated globally (FAO, 2013). After rapeseed harvesting, rapeseed
biochemical intermediates and other bioproducts. straw will be left on the field. In addition, after oil extraction and
biodiesel production, other byproducts such as rapeseed cake and gly-
3.2.3. Rice cerol waste are generated. Luo et al. used rapeseed straw along with
Rice is an important staple crop for more than half of the world's cake and glycerol obtained after biodiesel production to produce sev-
population. The global production of rice is about 671 million tonnes eral biofuels (G. Luo et al., 2011). Particularly, rapeseed straw was
per year (Barana, Salanti, Orlandi, Ali, & Zoia, 2016). Wastes such as pretreated with alkaline and subsequent steam. The solid phase was
rice straw and rice husk are generated during rice harvesting and used for ethanol production by enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation.
processing, and both of them contain a large amount of cellulose, After distillation of ethanol, the remaining stillage and hydrolysate
hemicellulose, and lignin, which can be good resources for the pro- together with rapeseed cake and glycerol were used for hydrogen and
duction of value-added chemicals and biofuels. methane production by anaerobic fermentation or digestion, respec-
Patrícia et al. reported a biorefinery framework using rice straw to tively. As a result, the energy recovery efficiency increased from 20%
produce various products (Patrícia et al., 2015). In particular, rice straw (conventional biodiesel process) to 60% (biorefinery process).
was first autohydrolyzed to get a hemicellulose-rich liquid, which can
be further purified to oligosaccharides. The solid residue rich in cellu- 3.4. Roots and tubers
lose and lignin was treated with ethanol to get the lignin-rich liquid and
cellulose-rich solid. Due to the removal of lignin, the ethanol-treated As to the roots and tubers, potatoes are the major crops in Europe,
solids have a 10% higher enzymatic digestibility compared to auto- North America, Oceania, and Industrialized Asia. The dominating
hydrolyzed solid. Another integrated biorefinery process was developed wastes (20% of the total waste) in these areas are produced during
to recover lignin, hemicellulose, silica, and cellulose nanocrystals from agricultural period. This phenomenon mainly depends on the quality
rice husk and Arundo donax (Barana et al., 2016). Specifically, rice husk standards set by retailers during the grading of post-harvest crop.
and A. donax were leached with HCl, followed by vacuum filtration to Cassava is dominated in Sub-Sahara Africa and Latin America, and
separate liquid and solid parts. The liquid portion was concentrated and wastes generated in these areas are mainly due to post-harvest handling
precipitated with ethanol to get hemicellulose A. The solid portion was and storage stages because fresh roots and tubers are perishable, thus

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

making these products easily to be damaged during or after harvest the second refinery scheme, the solid residues resulting from xylitol,
activities, especially in the humid and warm regions (FAO, 2011). furfural, ethanol and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) processes were used to
produce heat and power using a cogeneration system. The simulation
3.4.1. Potato software Aspen Plus was used to simulate the whole process, and MA-
Processing of potatoes is conducted mainly for chips, which gen- TLAB was used to perform mathematical calculations. The results
erates solid wastes including peels or cull potatoes. These solid wastes showed that the first biorefinery scheme had a net profit margin of
are usually composed of starch, fiber, polyphenols, and minerals 53%; while the second only had a net profit margin of 6%, which was
(Tamer & Çopur, 2014). The nutrients rich in potato wastes can be mainly due to high capital investment of the cogeneration system. In
valorized in an integrated process. For example, Chintagunta et al. in- another study, a techno-economic analysis was conducted for the uti-
cubated potato peels and mash with Aspergillus niger and Saccharomyces lization of BSG to produce xylitol, lactic acid, activated carbon, and
cerevisiae to obtain ethanol (Chintagunta, Jacob, & Banerjee, 2016). The phenolic acids for the Brazilian case (Mussatto et al., 2013). Four sce-
residue obtained after ethanol production was inoculated with seven narios based on different levels of heat and mass integration of the
different microorganisms to produce biomanure. As a result, biomanure biorefinery process were analyzed using Aspen Plus. The results showed
inoculated with Anabaena variabilis could enrich nitrogen, phosphorous, that full mass integration and full energy integration was the best
and potassium by nearly 7.7, 21.7, and 15.0 folds than that of the initial scenario with the highest economic margin at 62.3%.
concentration (Fig. 3D). The biorefinery of crop residues (e.g. corn stover, wheat straw) and
its techno-economic analysis were also investigated. Valdez-Vazquez
3.4.2. Cassava and Sanchez designed a novel process for the biorefinery of wheat straw
Cassava is mainly used to produce gari by microorganisms, and a lot and conducted its techno-economic analysis (Valdez-Vazquez &
of wastes such as peels and pulps are generated during the processing. Sanchez, 2017). The biorefinery based on mixed-culture processes in-
The cassava wastes contain various valuable compounds such as cel- cluded (i) conditioning of feedstock, (ii) hydrogen fermentation, (iii)
lulose (25%), hemicellulose (7%), and protein (5%), which can be acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation, (iv) methane digestion,
readily converted to other value-added products (Aderemi & Nworgu, and (v) electricity-steam cogeneration. Butanol was set as the main
2007). Moshi et al. applied the biorefinery concept to fully utilize product in the process. The techno-economic analysis of the process was
cassava peels by producing ethanol through simultaneous sacchar- focused on the impact of residence times (8–120 h) and butanol titers
ification and fermentation after alkali pretreatment (Moshi et al., (10–20 g/L) of the ABE fermentation on the production costs of butanol.
2015). The residue obtained after ethanol production was used to The results showed that the production costs of butanol from wheat
produce methane by anaerobic digestion. The result showed that the straw via the designed process were between $1.04/L to $1.27/L. Re-
integrated processing to produce ethanol together with methane led to cently, Huang et al. designed a biorefinery process of lignocellulosic
1.2–1.3 fold fuel energy yield compared to only methane production, biomass for the coproduction of ethanol and 1,5-pentanediol to im-
and 3–4 fold compared to only ethanol production. prove economics of lignocellulosic biofuels. The economic analysis
showed that coproduction of 1,5-pentanediol and ethanol from lig-
4. Techno-economic, environmental, and social assessment of nocellulosic biomass had economic advantages compared with the
plant-derived waste biorefinery processes ethanol-only lignocellulosic process at the current market price of 1,5-
pentanediol (K. Huang et al., 2017).
4.1. Techno-economic assessment It is worthy to mention that although these economic analyses
showed promising economic feasibility of the designed biorefinery
Techno-economic assessment is normally warranted before a new processes, we have to be cautious with the outcomes because of the
process is up-scaled for commercialization. The outcomes of economic inherent uncertainty of techno-economic analysis, especially in the
assessments can be used as a guideline for developing and modifying early stage design (Stuart & El-Halwagi, 2012). Early stage techno-
capital spending plans, estimating operating and maintenance costs, economic analysis relies on the data from lab-scale experiments, pub-
predicting profitability, and directing future research and development lically available information, and factors (such as Lang factor) to esti-
efforts of the process. Techno-economic analysis is especially important mate total capital and operating costs, all of which can lead to a large
to the development of the biorefinery processes of food waste, because uncertainty of the economic analysis.
many biorefinery technologies are complex than that in traditional
processes and require relatively high-capital investments. 4.2. Environmental assessment
In recent years techno-economic studies have been performed on
the biorefinery of plant-based food processing wastes, such as palm Environmental sustainability is an important issue when designing a
residues (Vaskan, Pachón, & Gnansounou, 2017), olive stones biorefinery process of plant-derived waste. Several criteria such as en-
(Hernández, Romero-García, Dávila, Castro, & Cardona, 2014), and ergy balances, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings, air and water
brewer's spent grain (BSG) (Mussatto, Moncada, Roberto, & Cardona, pollution, water resources, soil stress, and biodiversity need to be
2013). Vaskan et al. in Brazil assessed the economic feasibility of considered thoroughly before implementation of the plant-derived
biorefinery of palm empty fruit bunches (EFB), which are the abundant waste biorefinery (Nizami, Mohanakrishna, Mishra, & Pant, 2016). Life
lignocellulosic residues from the palm oil industry (Vaskan et al., 2017). cycle assessment (LCA) is a normally used technique to compile and
The process consisted of pretreatment of EFB using dilute acid or hot evaluate the environmental impacts of a product or process considering
water, separation of soluble pentose to produce animal feed, hydrolysis all inputs and outputs throughout its life cycle, which includes biomass
and fermentation to produce ethanol, and combustion of lignin to production, storage, transportation, utilization, maintenance, disposal
produce heat and power. The results showed that the dilute acid pre- or recycling (Nizami et al., 2017).
treatment was more efficient and economical than the hot water pre- Luo et al. have conducted an environmental assessment of corn
treatment, but may lead to severe environmental disadvantages due to stover biorefinery to produce ethanol, succinic acid, acetic acid, and
the large consumption of chemicals. In the study of Hernández et al., electricity (L. Luo, van der Voet, & Huppes, 2010). In their study, low-
techno-economic analysis was conducted for a biorefinery process of value ethanol and high-value succinic acid were selected as the main
olive stones, a byproduct from olive oil production (Hernández et al., products in a corn stover biorefinery. Acetic acid was a co-product from
2014) . Techno-economic assessment of two biorefinery schemes of succinic acid fermentation. Steam and electricity were generated from
olive stones were presented. The first biorefinery scheme was designed lignin and other residues. As to the result of eco-efficiency analysis, the
to produce xylitol, furfural, ethanol, and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate); in author found that the GHG benefits of this biorefinery were remarkable

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

compared to both the ethanol plant and gasoline refinery mainly be- of biorefinery is one of the advantages over petroleum refinery and also
cause a large amount of CO2 emitted by ethanol fermentation was fixed a priority to be considered. For example, according to the policy tar-
by acid fermentation. In addition, the eco-efficiency of biorefinery was geting the European Union, a minimum of 60% GHG saving is required
better than the gasoline refinery in the category of abiotic depletion for biofuels production with respect to fossil fuels by 2020 (EU, 2009).
potential (ADP) and ozone layer depletion potential (ODP). Although Another issue is that the biorefinery plants are normally capital in-
the study of such complex integrated biorefinery system is rare, several tensive and high-risk plants; therefore, a long-term stable policy for the
preliminary analyses suggested that the lignocellulosic waste bior- industry or the investors is important. Social aspect is another im-
efinery and recycling process can reduce the global warming potential portant issue to be considered. According to a survey responded by
(GWP) by saving GHG emissions, alleviate the cost of landfilling and its researchers, policy makers, and industrial actors regarding the bior-
associated environmental impact (Nizami et al., 2017; Ouda et al., efinery topics, they suggested that policies should be cautious about the
2016; Singh et al., 2010). potential significant threat to the social acceptance and reputation of
It should be noted that several limitations and challenges of LCA biorefinery concepts (Peck, Bennett, Bissett-Amess, Lenhart, &
methodologies such as rigid system boundaries, variations in statistical Mozaffarian, 2009). Furthermore, policies should be designed to sup-
methods, lack of update and accurate data availability, and local con- port a wide range of the development of waste biorefinery, including
ditions and environment are existed, which all affect the accuracy of the basic research, collaborative R&D, and facilitation of commercialization
assessment (Nizami et al., 2017). Since there is few of plant-derived of research results.
waste biorefinery system commercially available, uncertainties and
parameter sensitivities in LCA studies should be handled carefully. 4.5. The implementation of biorefinery
Detailed and various parameters including waste characterization, en-
ergy inputs and CO2 emissions of selected technologies, final products Most common implementations of biorefinery are focused on using
selection, local conditions and practices should be considered thor- crops to produce first generation biofuels. Driven by tax credits and the
oughly. Parametric LCA might be a useful tool in this situation Renewable Fuel Standards started in 2005 and extended in 2007, more
(Rathore, Nizami, Singh, & Pant, 2016). than 200 operating plants existed in the U.S. use corn as feedstock to
produce ethanol (Peplow, 2014). Yet corn ethanol offers only modest
4.3. Social assessment savings in GHG emissions compared with petroleum (Van Noorden,
2013). In addition, the corn cultivation could contribute to the in-
The social analysis for the biorefinery is sometimes ignored but creasing food price due to land used for corn-ethanol production would
important. The research on social perspectives can touch on many po- otherwise be used for food. Therefore, according to the Renewable
tentially interlinked issues which may make the process complex. Some Fuels Association, several biorefineries in Iowa, Kentucky, California,
commonly addressed social issues include land ownership rights, local and Kansas states of the U.S. applied plant-based wastes such as corn
stewardship of common property resources, and labor rights (Nizami stover, stalks, stem, and brewery wastes to produce ethanol (RFA,
et al., 2016). For example, in the case of Kenya, Mumias Sugar Com- 2017). In addition to biofuels production, some value-added chemical
pany Ltd. and the state-run Tana Athi River Development Authority compounds production has also been targeted recently. For example,
planned to utilize 16,000 ha for a sugarcane plantation for the pro- the largest scale bio-based succinic acid plant of BioAmber was started
duction of biofuels. This project would affect thousands of farmers who in Canada in 2015 (Schieb & Philp, 2014). However, as to the in-
currently utilized this land, and the human rights groups complained tegrated biorefinery of crop waste to produce various value-added
this project for its potential violations of farmers’ rights and the lack of chemicals and biofuels in a cascade way, although often discussed, have
those farmers inclusion in the early stage of this project (Elbehri, not yet been put into implementation.
Segerstedt, & Liu, 2013). As to the labor or employment effects, there
are some positive effects including new employment opportunities and 5. Future perspectives
improving health by reducing indoor air pollution, while some down
sides, such as potential negating employment benefits for local com- For the plant-derived waste biorefinery design, multiple steps and
munities because the foreign investors may bring their own manpower, aspects need to be evaluated carefully before the integrated process
should be thoroughly evaluated to keep social sustainability (Elbehri being up-scaled from lab- or plot-scale to a commercial level. Although
et al., 2013; Nizami et al., 2016). relevant research using food wastes for the biorefinery process design is
increasing recently, there are still some issues such as feedstocks se-
4.4. Policies lection and supply, transportation, economic, environmental, and social
evaluation that need to be considered thoroughly in the future.
The biorefinery of plant-derived waste research and development is First, most of the present researches focus on the cereal or oil crop
still in an early stage of evolution; therefore, the instruction and support wastes, while others such as fruit and vegetable wastes are lacking of
of relevant policies could play a significant role in this area. Currently, attentions. Fruit and vegetable wastes such as grape pomace and citrus
the most relevant policy instruments for the stimulation of biorefineries wastes normally contain value-added compounds such as polyphenols
are the carbon pricing and mandatory quota (Hellsmark & Söderholm, and essential oils in addition to cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
2017). Carbon pricing has been used in various regions including Those high value compounds can be applied in food, cosmetic, and
Europe and the U.S. For instance, Sweden has carbon tax exemptions pharmacy industries, thus are worthy of recovery. In order to better
for fuels produced from renewable resources, such as food waste. utilize those waste feedstocks, it is important to develop the plant-de-
Mandatory quota is an alternative policy instrument that protects a rived waste compositional database at first place. Those data collected
space for renewable chemicals and biofuels which currently cannot from different types of plant-derived wastes can provide guidelines for
directly compete with the fossil-derived products. For instance, the the further process design and final products selection. Furthermore,
Environment Protection Agency in the U.S. is authorized to set annual many types of food wastes are generated seasonally and difficult to
quotas dictating the percentage of renewable fuels blended into fossil store, which present challenges of the stable feedstock supply to the
fuels (EPA, 2018). However, the current policy instruments have not biorefinery plant during the whole year. Thus, the capacity of a process
been sufficient enough for stimulating commercialization of large-scale to use different types of feedstocks will be important to improve the
advanced biorefineries, which calls for the development of new in- economic feasibility of food waste valorization.
novative policies. Second, given the large amount of plant-derived wastes generated
Among the criteria of developing innovative policies, sustainability from agriculture and processing along with the low biomass energy

Q. Jin et al. Trends in Food Science & Technology 74 (2018) 119–131

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