Research of the Pretreatment and Enzymatic Saccharification from Watermelon Peel for Sugar Production
Watermelon fruit (Citrullus Lanatus) belongs to family Cucurbitaceae. The origin of this fruit is coming from southern Africa. Johor has the biggest watermelon plantation in Malaysia. Watermelon can be referred to as a tropical fruit as people always eat them during hot weather in other countries as well as in Malaysia. It is common to direct consume watermelon or turn it into watermelon juices or other watermelon food product.
Watermelon can be produced either with or without seeds. The edible flesh is composed of 90% water. The outer layer of watermelon is smooth and thick and has a light and dark green color that come with stripes. Watermelon peel is the greenish outer covering with the succulent sweet pulp and is usually wasted after consumption of the flesh.
The increased interest in their consumption is not only due to their sweet refreshing taste but also as a result of increased knowledge of their nutritional and medicinal values. Watermelon fruit and its juice have several beneficial, nutritive and health properties. They are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin C. Consumption of watermelon fruit is beneficial to health which has powerful antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are substances that can cause a great deal of damage to the body. High intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, airway spasm that occurs in asthma, risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Watermelon has become a part of the human diet for ages due to its nutritional and medicinal values. However, watermelon peel could cause environmental pollution if not properly handled. Due to the high consumption of watermelon, the quantity of the discarded portion is very high which increases the household solid wastes. The watermelon peel can cause odor and environment pollution. In Malaysia, the overall waste composition is dominated by the municipal solid wastes, including fruit wastes which are 64%. These wastes have valuable bioactive compounds and nutrients which can be utilized in making something useful in industry as well as reducing the pollution problem.
For this reason, researchers have been focused on the utilization of watermelon wastes and by-products like the production of reducing sugar, fuel ethanol, degradable plastics composites, cosmetics, resins, medicines, feedstock and fertilizers. Processing of watermelon peels into sugars can transform these wastes into a resource with a great potential for economic prosperity. This can indirectly help to secure the public health impacts towards safer and healthier environment through indirect waste management. Besides the environmental problem, sustainability issues are the common problem faces by the sugar industry which is related to sugar’s bio-product. Sustainability is the balancing of the environment (ecology), society, and economy.
Carbohydrates are the most abundant compounds in the world and the analysis of sugars is important to the food and beverage industries. Watermelon peel mainly consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The production of various sugars evaluated from the non-edible portion of watermelon can achieve economical profit. Moreover, utilization of the agro-industrial wastes for sugar production will prevent the pollution hazards associated with these wastes.
Many studies have been conducted to convert lignocellulosic biomass into sugar. The objective of this study is to determine the effect of different pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification for sugar production from watermelon peels. Then, the sugar content in the watermelon peels will be determined using Benedict Test, Blood Glucose Monitor (BGM) and Refractometer. The last objective is the calorie content of glucose will be determine using Bomb Calorimeter.
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