What is it about?

Tropical countries such as Colombia and Mexico produce large amounts of unripe plantain. Nevertheless, more than 30% of this fruit does not fulfill the required specifications to be commercialized. Therefore, farmers left unripe plantain until decomposition in the field. Even so, this fruit represents an entrepreneurship opportunity to obtain marketable products and energy vectors such as plantain flour and bioethanol. This statement has not been studied considering technical and economic perspectives to determine the potential of this raw material as an alternative to entrepreneurship at a local and regional level. Therefore, this paper is one of the few works where experimental yields and compositions are used as input data to perform the technical and economic analysis of the unripe plantain use as feedstock to produce bioethanol and plantain flour as products.

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Why is it important?

It was demonstrated the potential of rejected unripe plantain as feedstock to produce flour and bioethanol in Colombia and México. Low scale production of plantain flour is suitable from a technical and economic perspective. Higher bioethanol yields were obtained using the whole plantain flour than peel. Mexico provides better economic conditions to produce plantain flour and bioethanol than Colombia.

Perspectives

One of the goals of sustainable development is food waste valorization. Plantain consumption generates massive quantities of waste, represented in rejected plantain and other parts of the plant. Some studies consider these parts of the plant in separated technology schemes (in stand-alone approaches), but the conjunction of all these studies can be made advocating the Circular Bio-economy concept. There are many potentialities, prospects, and challenges for the researchers because biorefining projects are at an early stage of research. Thus, more studies on biorefining are needed for realistic assessments, which unlock the possibility to perform entrepreneurship development that improves rural economies for plantain producers.

PhD Leonardo Alexis Alonso
Universidad de los Llanos

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This page is a summary of: Performance evaluation and economic analysis of the bioethanol and flour production using rejected unripe plantain fruits (Musa paradisiaca L.) as raw material, Food and Bioproducts Processing, May 2020, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.fbp.2020.01.005.
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