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Waxes, policosanols and aldehydes in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) and Okinawan brown sugar (Kokuto)

Waxes, long chain alcohols and aldehydes were found in several variants of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) and Kokuto, a non-centrifuged Okinawan cane brown sugar. Long chain alcohols, policosanols, have been reported to have beneficial effect to human health. The composition of wax in sugarcane was analyzed using HPLC with an evaporative light scattering detector. Sugarcane wax composed of 55–60% aldehydes, sterol esters and wax esters, 32–40% alcohols, and small amounts of triacylglycerols, acids and sterols. Extraction of policosanols performed effectively with hexane and methanol (20:1 v/v), while that of long chain aldehydes was with chloroform and methanol (2:1 v/v). Their composition was determined using GC with a flame ionization detector, whereas their compounds were identified using GC-MS. Sugarcane rinds contained up to 500 mg policosanols and 600 mg aldehydes per 100 g sample of Ni 22 cultivar. The content of policosanol and long chain aldehyde in Kokuto was influenced by its production systems. Compositional analysis of the end product confirmed the presence of policosanols and aldehydes up to 85 mg and 8 mg respectively per 100 g sample of Kokuto A, a product of brown sugar manufacture with open pan heating system. Octacosanol and octacosanal were found to be the major wax components in both sugarcane and Kokuto samples. This study revealed significant difference in content and composition of waxes, policosanols and long chain aldehydes between sugarcane parts, cultivars and harvesting times; also between Kokuto types and production methods.

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