March 2, 2024

How Nigeria can convert its large cashew waste to valuable citric acid

Nigeria harvests between 200,000 and 240,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts each year. About 85% of these are exported. Nigeria is no different from other African countries that ship raw cashew nuts as the majority of their production.

Africa is the largest exporter and producer of raw cashews in the world, with a production of 2,334,405 tonnes. This represents more than half of the global output. The world’s raw cashew nut trade has more than doubled between 2000 and 2018. African producers, led by Cote d’Ivoire, accounted for two-thirds. In 2020, cashew nut trade was valued at US$6.87 Billion.

Cashew farming is responsible for contributing about N24 billion ($58 million) annually to the Nigerian Economy. It employs more 600,000..

The sector could do better. Citric acid can be made from the abundant cashew apple-juice in Nigeria. Citric acid imports in 2020 would cost Nigeria US$31,000,000 per year.

Nigerians can make citric acid using Biotechnology, a science that uses biological processes to create valuable products and services. Man uses bacteria to turn milk into yogurt. Biotechnology is used to produce bread using yeast. In 2020, biotechnological products were worth US$752.88 Billion with a projected growth rate of 15.83% from 2021-2028.

By creating new products, cashew wastes can also be converted into wealth. Cashew nut liquid can be used to make chemicals for paints, varnishes or agrochemicals. Shells and pulp can be converted into animal feeds or bioethanol through biotechnology. Biotechnology is also able to turn the juices into drinks or ethanol.

Cashew acid is a source of citric acid

We focused our efforts on adding value to the cashew by testing the production of citric acid using the underutilized juice from cashew apples.

Citric acid’s demand is increasing because it has many uses. new sources of nutrients are needed in order to grow bacteria which produce citric acid.

Cashew pulp and juice contain nutrients that support the growth of microorganisms.

For the first time in history, we used apple cashew juice for growing black mold and producing citric acid. Black mold is an environmental fungus. When it grows, black spores are produced. It is also known scientifically as niger.

It grows on cheap and simple materials. It has been used reports.

Citric acid was used to coagulate the soymilk to make cheese. The coagulant used in cheese production is Citric acid . A panel was asked to test the quality. The panel found that the soy-based cheese had better qualities than local cheeses made with fermented corn liquor. They found that the soy cheese had better texture, colour, and flavour than those produced locally using fermented liquor of corn.

Then, we used scientific methods in order to increase citric acid production. In this case, we manipulated the growth conditions of moulds and used nanomaterials to supplement its nutrition. This was the first global report to increase citric acid production using nanotechnology.

We used four different techniques at various times to enhance the capability of the mold. Radiation is one way to obtain high-yielding mold. We added sugar to the fruit juice to determine its impact on citric acid yield. The effect of adding zinc oxide nanoparticles to the liquid was evaluated. We chose the optimal growth conditions for our mold to produce citric acid.

The efforts made by these researchers increased the production of citric acid by the mold in cashew fruit juice by 2.38 to 1198 times the original production. The addition of zinc oxide nanoparticles, for example, yielded 34.62% of citric acid each day. The best conditions for growth produced 92.61% of citric acid each day. These results show that we can increase the productivity of the mold to increase commercial production of Citric Acid.

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