Potential use of high-temperature and low-temperature steam treatment, sodium hydroxide and an enzyme mixture for improving the nutritional value of sugarcane pith
The effectiveness of different treatment methods to improve the nutritional value of the sugarcane by-products (pith or bagasse) has been evaluated. The treatment methods included a high-pressure steam treatment (HPST; 19 bar, 3 min), treating the products with sodium hydroxide, sulphuric acid plus an enzyme mixture, or low-temperature steam treatment (LTST) under different conditions. Gas production (GP), two-step in vitro digestibility (IVD) and in situ degradability (ISD) techniques were used to monitor the effectiveness of the treatments. HPST resulted in a significant increased in the total soluble sugar (TSS) content of unsteamed pith (USP), 20 vs. 123.75 mg/100 mL. Except for the enzyme treatment, the other treatments led to a significant improvement in the nutritional value of sugarcane by-products, as measured by the IVD method. LTST resulted in an increase in potential GP (B) at higher temperature, reaction time and amount of acid. The highest potential GP (110.92 mL/300 mg DM) was achieved under the conditions, 134 °C, 18 g acid/kg DM, 120 min, and the lowest (72.4 mL/300 mg DM) under the conditions, 121 °C, no acid, 40 min. In situ dry matter degradability (ISDMD) was unaffected by LTST. Dry matter digestibility results indicated that the optimal treatments for treating pith were HPST and NaOH, but that enzymes were ineffective. Furthermore, considering treatment cost (creating high-pressure are more expensive than low temperature treatments), potential environmental health problems and the relative improvement in the nutritional value of pith achieved by the LTST + acid method, compared to the HPST method (as measured using GP), these results suggested that the methods based on the use of LTST and acid (especially under harsher conditions), have the best potential to improve the nutritive value of sugarcane by-products.
Keywords: Saccharum officinarum, steam, bagasse, raw or unsteam-treated pith