Sequential fractionation of feruloylated hemicelluloses and oligosaccharides from wheat bran using subcritical water and xylanolytic enzymes†
Wheat bran is a major by-product of cereal production that still has limited use for advanced nutritional and material applications. A sequential process using subcritical water, membrane filtration and selective enzymatic treatments has been designed for the combined fractionation of functional high molar mass hemicelluloses (over 105 g mol−1) and oligosaccharides from wheat bran. This process not only offers increased total solid yield compared with conventional protocols based on alkaline extraction, but it also preserves the inherent functionalities of the phenolic groups that substitute the carbohydrate structures of the extracted hemicelluloses. Feruloylated arabinoxylans (F-AX) with high molar mass and significant radical scavenging activity can be isolated from the subcritical water extract. Structurally different oligosaccharides, including mixed-linkage β-D-glucan oligosaccharides (BGOs) and arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides (AXOs) can be recovered from the eluent after membrane filtration. The crosslinked residue after subcritical water extraction was further treated with xylanolytic enzymes to release valuable feruloylated arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides (FAXOs). The oligo- and polysaccharide fractions isolated from this sequential process show great potential for use as prebiotic or platform chemicals, and as polymeric matrices for carbohydrate-based materials with radical scavenging properties, respectively.