Extraction and thermal characterization of epicuticular wax from Opuntia streptacantha at different stages of maturation
Keywords:Opuntia; vegetable wax; DSC; Melting temperature; Microstructure
The content of epicuticular waxes on the surface of the cladodes of Opuntia streptacantha and their thermal characteristics based on the stage of maturation of the plant were determined. The moisture content of samples of cladodes from O. streptacantha at different stages of maturation was determined. The ultrastructure of the surface of the cladodes was determined in dehydrated samples employing scanning electron microscopy. The surface of the cladodes contains amorphus particles related to epicuticular waxes in all stages of maturation. The extraction of hydrophobic compounds was carried out through soxhlet. The extracts obtained were thermally characterized utilizing DSC. Results showed no significant differences for the moisture content or hydrophobic compounds, regardless the stage of maturation. The melting temperature was different in young cladodes (1 and 2 years old) than old cladodes (3 and 4 years old); however, these temperatures are similar to thoses waxes with high commercial value, hereby we propose as a new alternative to commercial waxes for different technological applications.