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Concept: Agave tequilana


Agaves are succulent monocotyledonous plants native to xeric environments of North America. Because of their adaptations to their environment, including crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM, a water-efficient form of photosynthesis), and existing technologies for ethanol production, agaves have gained attention both as potential lignocellulosic bioenergy feedstocks and models for exploring plant responses to abiotic stress. However, the lack of comprehensive Agave sequence datasets limits the scope of investigations into the molecular-genetic basis of Agave traits.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, C4 carbon fixation, Crassulacean acid metabolism, Agave, Carbon fixation, Agave tequilana


Tequila elaboration leaves two main byproducts that are undervalued (bagasse and leaves). Organosolv pulping and Total Chlorine Free bleaching were integrated to obtain cellulose fibers from agricultural waste which consisted of blue agave bagasse and leaf fibers; together they represent a green process which valorizes biomass waste. The obtained celluloses were characterized by FT-IR, colorimetry, and SEM and their extraction yields were evaluated. These celluloses were used to produce cellulose nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibers. First, an acid hydrolysis was performed in a sonication bath to induce cavitation during the reaction to produce cellulose nanocrystals. Then a high-pressure homogenization was selected to produce cellulose nanofibers. These nanocelluloses were characterized by powder XRD, Nanosizer, zeta potential, NMR, and electronic microscopy. Results showed that cellulose from organosolv pulps bleached with TCF bleaching is suitable for nanocellulose production. Moreover, the use of a new step to separate cellulose nanocrystals resulted in yields almost doubling traditional yields, while the rest of the properties remained within the expected.

Concepts: Sodium hydroxide, Cellulose, Hydrolysis, Agave, Cellulose fiber, Agave tequilana, Tequila


Continuous H2 and CH4 production in a two-stage process to increase energy recovery from agave bagasse enzymatic-hydrolysate was studied. In the first stage, the effect of organic loading rate (OLR) and stirring speed on volumetric hydrogen production rate (VHPR) was evaluated in a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR); by controlling the homoacetogenesis with the agitation speed and maintaining an OLR of 44 g COD/L-d, it was possible to reach a VHPR of 6 L H2/L-d, equivalent to 1.34 kJ/g bagasse. In the second stage, the effluent from CSTR was used as substrate to feed a UASB reactor for CH4 production. Volumetric methane production rate (VMPR) of 6.4 L CH4/L-d was achieved with a high OLR (20 g COD/L-d) and short hydraulic retention time (HRT, 14 h), producing 225 mL CH4/g-bagasse equivalent to 7.88 kJ/g bagasse. The two-stage continuous process significantly increased energy conversion efficiency (56%) compared to one-stage hydrogen production (8.2%).

Concepts: Hydrogen, Thermodynamics, Anaerobic digestion, Multistage rocket, Heat of combustion, Chemical reactor, Agave tequilana


In this work, the immunomodulatory activity of the acetone extract and the fructans obtained from Agave tequilana were evaluated, on the systemic autoimmunity type-SLE model generated by the administration of 2,6,10,14-tetramethylpentadecane (TMPD, also known as pristane) on Balb/c female mice. The systemic autoimmunity type-SLE was observed seven months after the application of TMPD, in which the animals from the negative control group (animals with damage and without any other treatment) developed articular inflammation, proteinuria, an increment of the antinuclear antibody titters and tissue pro-inflammatory cytokines levels (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α e IFN-γ) as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. The administration of the different treatments and the extracts of A. tequilana, provoked the decrease of: articular inflammation, the development of proteinuria, ssDNA/dsDNA antinuclear antibody titters and cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-10. The phytochemical analysis of the acetone extract identified the presence of the following compounds: β-sitosterol glycoside; 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol (phytol); octadecadienoic acid-2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester; stigmasta-3,5-dien-7-one; cycloartenone and cycloartenol. Therefore, A. tequilana contains active compounds with the capacity to modify the evolution of the systemic autoimmunity type-SLE on a murine model.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Antibody, Scientific method, Cytokine, Rheumatoid arthritis, Mouse, Agave tequilana


This study was performed to investigate the effect of Agave tequilana Weber inulin on postprandial ghrelin levels in obese patients. A randomized, double-blind, cross-over design was performed. A total of 14 patients were allocated into two groups: one group received a drink that contained 500 mL lemon water, 24 g of A. tequilana Weber inulin, and 75 g glucose and the other group received a placebo drink with 500 mL lemon drink and 75 g of glucose. After a 7-day washout period, the groups were crossed. The primary outcome measure was postprandial ghrelin levels between minute 240 and minute 270. A. tequilana Weber inulin did not change postprandial ghrelin concentration in obese patients.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Medical terms, Agave tequilana


Biosynthesis of agave fructans occurs in mesontle vacuoles which showed fluctuations in FAZY activities and synthesized a diverse spectrum of fructooligosaccharide isomers. Agave tequilana Weber Blue variety is an important agronomic crop in Mexico. Fructan metabolism in A. tequilana exhibits changes in fructan content, type, degree of polymerization (DP), and molecular structure. Specific activities of vacuolar fructan active enzymes (FAZY) in A. tequilana plants of different age and the biosynthesis of fructooligosaccharides (FOSs) were analyzed in this work. Vacuoles from mesontle (stem) protoplasts were isolated and collected from 2- to 7-year-old plants. For the first time, agave fructans were identified in the vacuolar content by HPAEC-PAD. Several FAZY activities (1-SST, 6-SFT, 6G-FFT, 1-FFT, and FEH) with fluctuations according to the plant age were found in protein vacuolar extracts. Among vacuolar FAZY, 1-SST activities appeared in all plant developmental stages, as well as 1-FFT and FEH activities. The enzymes 6G-FFT and 6-SST showed only minimal activities. Lowest and highest FAZY activities were found in 2- and 6-year-old plants, respectively. Synthesized products (FOS) were analyzed by TLC and HPAEC-PAD. Vacuolar FAZYs yielded large FOS isomers diversity, being 7-year-old plants the ones that synthesized a greater variety of fructans with different DP, linkages, and molecular structures. Based on the above, we are proposing a model for the FAZY activities constituting the FOS biosynthetic pathways in Agave tequilana Weber Blue variety.

Concepts: Cell, Metabolism, Enzyme, Molecule, Fructose, Plant cell, Fructooligosaccharide, Agave tequilana


Fructans from agave have received specific attention because of their highly branched fructan content. We have previously reported that the degree of polymerization (dp) influences their biological activity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of unfractionated and fractionated fructans (higher and lower dps) from Agave tequilana in high-fat diet-induced (HFD) obese mice. Fructans with a lower dp (HFD+ScF) decreased weight gain by 30 %, body fat mass by 51 %, hyperglycemia by 25 % and liver steatosis by 40 %. Interestingly, unfractionated fructans (HFD+F) decreased glucose and triglycerides (TG), whereas fractionated fructans with a higher dp (HFD+LcF) decreased TG but not glucose; in contrast, HFD+ScF decreased glucose but not TG. Our findings suggest that both higher and lower dp agave fructans have complementary effects in metabolic disorders related to obesity. These findings may contribute to the development of improved food supplements with a specific ratio combination of fructans with different dps.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Insulin, Obesity, Body fat percentage, Fatty liver, Glycerol, Agave tequilana


Agave (Agave tequilana Weber var. azul) fermentations are traditionally carried out employing batch systems in the process of tequila manufacturing; nevertheless, continuous cultures could be an attractive technological alternative to increase productivity and efficiency of sugar to ethanol conversion. However, agave juice (used as a culture medium) has nutritional deficiencies that limit the implementation of yeast continuous fermentations, resulting in high residual sugars and low fermentative rates. In this work, fermentations of agave juice using Saccharomyces cerevisiae were put into operation to prove the necessity of supplementing yeast extract, in order to alleviate nutritional deficiencies of agave juice. Furthermore, continuous fermentations were performed at two different aeration flow rates, and feeding sterilized and non-sterilized media. The obtained fermented musts were subsequently distilled to obtain tequila and the preference level was compared against two commercial tequilas, according to a sensorial analysis. The supplementation of agave juice with air and yeast extract augmented the fermentative capacity of S. cerevisiae S1 and the ethanol productivities, compared to those continuous fermentations non supplemented. In fact, aeration improved ethanol production from 37 to 40 g L(-1), reducing sugars consumption from 73 to 88 g L(-1) and ethanol productivity from 3.0 to 3.2 g (Lh)(-1), for non-aerated and aerated (at 0.02 vvm) cultures, respectively. Supplementation of yeast extract allowed an increase in specific growth rate and dilution rates (0.12 h(-1), compared to 0.08 h(-1) of non-supplemented cultures), ethanol production (47 g L(-1)), reducing sugars consumption (93 g L(-1)) and ethanol productivity [5.6 g (Lh)(-1)] were reached. Additionally, the effect of feeding sterilized or non-sterilized medium to the continuous cultures was compared, finding no significant differences between both types of cultures. The overall effect of adding yeast extract and air to the continuous fermentations resulted in 88 % increase in ethanol productivity. For all cultures, pH was not controlled, reaching low pH values (from 2.6 to 3). This feature suggested a reduced probability of contamination for prolonged continuous cultures and explained why no significant differences were found between continuous cultures fed with sterilized or non-sterilized media. Concentrations of volatile compounds quantified in the distillates (tequila) were in the allowed ranges established by the Mexican regulation of tequila (NOM-006-SCFI-2012, Norma Oficial Mexicana: Bebidas alcohólicas-Tequila-specificaciones, 2012). The preference level of the distillates was similar to that of two well-known commercial tequilas. The results suggested the possibility of implementing this innovative technology on an industrial scale, attaining high productivities and using non-sterilized agave juice.

Concepts: Fungus, Yeast, PH, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Brewing, Agave tequilana, Tequila


Evaluation of diluted acid hydrolysis for sugar extraction from cooked and uncooked Agave tequilana bagasse and feasibility of using the hydrolysates as substrate for methane production, with and without nutrient addition, in anaerobic sequencing batch reactors (AnSBR) were studied. Results showed that the hydrolysis over the cooked bagasse was more effective for sugar extraction at the studied conditions. Total sugars concentration in the cooked and uncooked bagasse hydrolysates were 27.9g/L and 18.7g/L, respectively. However, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural was detected in the cooked bagasse hydrolysate, and therefore, the uncooked bagasse hydrolysate was selected as substrate for methane production. Interestingly, results showed that the AnSBR operated without nutrient addition obtained a constant methane production (0.26LCH4/gCOD), whereas the AnSBR operated with nutrient addition presented a gradual methane suppression. Molecular analyses suggested that methane suppression in the experiment with nutrient addition was due to a negative effect over the archaeal/bacterial ratio.

Concepts: Nutrition, Water, Starch, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Fructose, Sucrose, Agave tequilana


Mass and energy fluxes were measured over a field of Agave tequilana in Mexico using eddy covariance (EC) methodology. Data were gathered over 252 days, including the transition from wet to dry periods. Net ecosystem exchanges (FN,EC ) displayed a crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) rhythm that alternated from CO2 sink at night to CO2 source during the day, and partitioned canopy fluxes (FA,EC ) showed a characteristic four-phase CO2 exchange pattern. Results were cross-validated against diel changes in titratable acidity, leaf-unfurling rates, energy exchange fluxes, and reported biomass yields. Projected carbon balance (g C m(-2)  yr(-1) , mean ± 95% confidence interval) indicated the site was a net sink of -333 ± 24, of which contributions from soil respiration were +692 ± 7, and FA,EC were -1025 ± 25. Eddy covariance estimated biomass yield was 20.1 Mg (dry) ha(-1)  yr(-1) . Average integrated daily FA,EC was -234 ± 5 mmol CO2 m(-2)  day(-1) and persisted almost unchanged after 70 days of drought conditions. Regression analyses were performed on the EC data to identify the best environmental predictors of FA . Results suggest that the carbon acquisition strategy of Agave offers productivity and drought resilience advantages over conventional semi-arid C3 and C4 bioenergy candidates.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Oxygen, Alcohol, Carbon dioxide, Acid, Statistics, Crassulacean acid metabolism, Agave tequilana