Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 16;13(1):15355. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41529-z.
Corn nixtamalization generates a waste byproduct that requires diverse environmental preservation measures depending on the country. Such measures could include catalytic and advanced oxidation processes. This study aims to exploit the hemicellulose within the nejayote (32.5%) to create added value chemicals such as furfural using photocatalytic hydrolysis. In the present work, titania (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) were greenly synthesized using Ricinus Communis (RC), Moringa Oleifera (MO) or Bougainvillea Spectabilis (BS) plant extracts. Obtained nanoparticles were characterized using XRD, SEM, EDS, BET, XPS and UV-vis techniques. Furthermore, the photocatalytic performance of the obtained samples was evaluated in the furfural production from nejayote. Furfural yield reached 44% in 30 min using the BS synthesized material, which is 1.6 × the yield obtained by the material synthesized with MO extract (26.4% at 45 min) and 6 × the yield obtained by the material obtained with RC (7.2% at 90 min). Such results have not been reported before in the literature and could be the groundwork for novel waste treatments in the tortilla-making industry.