Ecologia, energia e prodotti per la pelle dalle bucce di arancia

di Valentina Ierrobino 46

 Anche gli agrumi, e più in particolare le bucce di arancia, possono produrre energia per riscaldare le nostre case e per far muovere le nostre automobili, o essere impiegate nell’industria farmacologica e nella cosmesi. La scoperta arriva dagli USA, dove è stato pubblicato uno studio condotto dall’Università di New York in collaborazione con i centri di ricerca di Cordoba in Spagna, e di San Paolo in Brasile, in occasione della sedicesima edizione del congresso Green Chemestry & Engineering Conference.

Il progetto di ricerca “Orange Peel Exploitation Company” ha preso in esame le proprietà degli agrumi ed ha portato ad interessanti scoperte per riciclare la parte di scarto degli agrumi, appunto le bucce, che ogni anno ammontano a circa 15,6 milioni di tonnellate. Si è scoperto che le bucce di arancia si possono utilizzare per la produzione di biosolventi e profumi, ma anche per sistemi di depurazione delle acque. Come ha spiegato James Clark, direttore del centro di ricerca di Green Chemestry di New York e coordinatore del progetto, si tratta di un grande esempio di come poter utilizzare degli elementi che altrimenti verrebbero dispersi nell’ambiente. Solo il Brasile e gli Stati Uniti ogni anno producono il 38% delle arance che interessano il mercato di tutto il mondo e circa il 50% degli agrumi viene scartato, causando gas serra sprigionati dalla macerazione delle fibre.

Riciclando le bucce di arancia si può estrarre ad esempio la pectina per produrre farmaci, sostanze nutritive e principi attivi per la pelle. Le bucce possono essere impiegate anche per la produzione di energia, sostituendo nelle raffinerie prodotti molto inquinanti a base di derivati del petrolio. Il principio che trasforma le bucce di arancia in energia si basa su una tecnica simile a quella impiegata da un comune microonde, ma ad alta potenza in grado di degradare le molecole di cellulosa e di rilasciare gas volatili che si possono raccogliere e una volta distillati ottenere un prodotto liquido.

[Fonti: AGI News; Phys]

[Photo Credit | Thinkstock]

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