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Keywords:

  • Finlaysonia obovata;
  • mangrove;
  • latex plant;
  • saturated hydrocarbons;
  • bioenergy

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

Because of the increased demand and depletion of fossil hydrocarbons, the researchers have now started to pay attention toward exploitation of new energy plants and biomass of plants as alternate source of fuels and petrochemicals. Mangroves which possess enormous economic potential and utilitarian value in the ecosystem are very promising as energy plants, because they are fast growing and most of them contain abundant fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and so forth. In this article, the isolation of a white waxy amorphous solid from the hexane extract of leaves of Finlaysonia obovata is described, a mangrove plant which was found to be a mixture of saturated straight-chain, branched-chain, and long-chain linear aliphatic hydrocarbons by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis. The waxy solid showed the existence of hydrocarbons ranging from 8 to 30 carbon atoms. The waxy solid contains more than 70% of linear saturated long-chain hydrocarbons. Among the saturated hydrocarbons, the content of docosane and pentacosane were found to be the major ones. The other major saturated hydrocarbons are tetradecane, hexadecane, and triacontane. Its high carbon content (85–90%) and absence of nitrogen and oxygen indicates its good fuel quality. The similarity of physical/ spectral characteristics of the waxy component with other renewable sources of hydrocarbons from the literature is discussed, and the results obtained are very promising. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 34: 265–268, 2015


INTRODUCTION

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

Hydrocarbons are currently the main source of the world's energy resources because of the energy they produce when combusted. There is a gradual decline in the world supplies of hydrocarbons. The acute shortage and depletion of fossil hydrocarbon necessitates a search for new alternate source of renewable energy that can serve to replace fossil hydrocarbons.

Green plants rich in hydrocarbons and botanochemicals are the most attractive sources that can serve as potential renewable energy resources to alternate fossil fuels [1]. There is considerable interest in latex-producing plants as renewable sources of chemical feedstocks [2-4]. The nonpolar constituents of these latex-bearing plants are the source of the new industrial raw materials [2, 3, 5]. Some latex-bearing plants were also found to show activity like anthelmintic activity [6], anti-inflammatory activity [7], and other medicinal activities [8]. They are the potential sources of hydrocarbons and have been investigated periodically for many years [9, 10]. However, there are number of latex-bearing plants, which have not been systematically investigated for their hydrocarbon contents. Mangroves which are used for shoreline protection, coastal erosion control, and as a shelter for juveniles of fish and provide a wide variety of products, including wood, salt, and food [11], are very promising as energy plants, because they are fast growing and most of them contain abundant fatty acids, hydrocarbons [12, 13]. However, the literature on hydrocarbon constituents of latex-bearing mangrove plants is very scarce.

Finlaysonia obovata (family: Periplocaceae) is a latex-exuding mangrove plant abundantly found in the tidal flats in India, Burma, and Malay, the leaves of which are used in salad and treatment of asthma [14]. A number of triterpenes and steroids were isolated from this plant [15-17]. The nonpolar extract (hexane extract) of this plant has shown very good antibacterial activity against fish and human bacterial pathogens [17]. The objective of this work is to evaluate and characterize the waxy amorphous solid isolated from hexane extract and its similarity on the basis of physical/spectral characteristics with the waxy component of other plants which are potential renewable source of hydrocarbons and energy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

The melting point was determined on a Buchi melting point apparatus and is uncorrected. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis was carried out on Shimadzu QP-5000 equipped with a mass selective detector, and the elemental analysis was carried out on a TRUSPEC C,H,N,S analyzer (Leco Corporation). Fourier transform infrared spectrum of the sample was recorded using a Perkin–Elmer spectrophotometer (Spectrum GX).

Plant Material

The leaves of F. obovata were collected from Bhitarkanika mangrove forest of Odisha (during late winter season) and identified by Mr. K.S. Murthy, I/C SMP Unit, Central Research Unit (AY), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. The specimen (accession no. 12550) has been deposited at the herbarium (RRL-B) of Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.

Extraction of the Plant Material

The leaves of the plant (1 kg) were cut, shade dried, and powdered, and then extraction was carried out with n-hexane (1:2 v/v, thrice) by soaking overnight at ambient temperature. The extract was freed from solvent under reduced pressure. The residue thus obtained is finally dried under vacuum. The residue was found to be 3.14% by the weight of the dried material.

Fractionation of Hexane Extract and Isolation of Saturated Hydrocarbon Fraction

The crude hexane extract was chromatographed on a column packed with silica gel (100–200 Mesh), and the fractions were monitored by thin-layer chromatography (TLC).

The column was first eluted with hexane, and then the fractions were collected. The fractions 1–3 were monitored by TLC and were mixed. The mixed fraction on crystallization from ethyl acetate afforded a white waxy amorphous solid with melting point 60–62°C, and it was analyzed by GC–MS. The crystallized solid showed brown spot on the TLC plate with a high Rf value of 0.8.

GC–MS Analysis

GC–MS analysis of the waxy amorphous solid was performed on a Shimadzu QP-5000 GC–MS equipped with a mass selective detector and a 25 m × 0.25 mm, 0.25 μm film thickness, WCOT column coated with 5% diphenyl siloxane supplied by J&W (DB-5). Helium was used as the carrier gas at a flow rate of 1.2 mL/min and at a column pressure of 42 kPa. The column temperature was programmed from 40–280°C at 4°C/min to 280°C for 10 min, with a total run time of 70 min using 70 eV ionization voltage (EI). Peak identification was carried out by comparison of the mass spectra with those available in the NIST and Wiley libraries and from retention time and area data.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

The waxy amorphous solid was analyzed using GC–MS. The GC pattern showed the complex nature of the compound, and a series of saturated hydrocarbons were identified by GC–MS. The data obtained are summarized in Table 1. Hydrocarbons were identified by comparison of the mass spectra with those available in the NIST and Wiley Libraries. The structures are confirmed by fragmentation study. The types of hydrocarbons identified are all saturated hydrocarbons in the range of C8–C30. It has also been reported that F. obovata produced saturated straight-chain, branched-chain, and long-chain linear aliphatic hydrocarbons. Similar results were also reported in the leaves of seven mangrove species investigated by Misra et al. [13]. The hydrocarbon constituents of leaves of all seven species contain only saturated normal and branched hydrocarbons and alkenes were absent, which is similar to our investigated results.

Table 1. Saturated hydrocarbons identified in the waxy solid obtained from F. obovata by GC–MS.
Hydrocarbon
Straight-chain hydrocarbonBranched-chain hydrocarbon
TetradecaneDimethyloctane
HexadecaneMethyldecane
DocosaneMethylundecane
PentacosaneMethyltridecane
TriacontaneMethylheptadecane
 Methyloctadecane

The waxy solid contains more than 70% of linear saturated long-chain hydrocarbons. Among the saturated hydrocarbons, the content of docosane and pentacosane were found to be the major ones. The other major saturated hydrocarbons are tetradecane, hexadecane, and triacontane. A number of monomethyl branched saturated hydrocarbons were identified, among which methyloctadecane and methylheptadecane are the major ones. The other identified branched saturated hydrocarbons are methyldecane, methylundecane, methyltridecane, and dimethyloctane.

These hydrocarbons often possess valuable biological activities. They serve as allelochemicals defending plants from bacteria, fungi, and viruses and take part in plant–insect relationships.

The latex-bearing plants like Plumeria alba, Calotropis procera, Euphorbia nerrifolia, Nerium indicum, and Mimusops elengi were evaluated as potential renewable sources of energy and chemicals [10]. The saturated hydrocarbons identified from F. obovata are very much similar to saturated hydrocarbons identified from a plant Ficus benghalensis whose calorific value is comparable with conventional sources reported in the literature [18]. A white waxy amorphous solid, which was isolated from first two petroleum ether fractions of column chromatography of petroleum ether extract of Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poit, was found to be a mixture of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons, which is very much similar with our white waxy amorphous solid which was also isolated from first three hexane fractions of column chromatography of hexane extract [19]. The most important observation is that the melting point of the mixture (60°C) obtained from Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poit is exactly the same with the melting point of our crystallized mixture, which was found to be 60–62°C. Infrared spectrum of the waxy solid of F. obovata (Figure 1) is also very much similar with the infrared spectra of waxy solid obtained from Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poit. The IR spectrum of waxy solid gave C[BOND]H stretching at 2931–2855 cm−1 and C[BOND]H bending at 1378 and 1474 cm−1. The IR datas of the waxy mixture indicate the absence of nitrogen and oxygen, and the substance is a mixture of group of alkanes as in wax. The carbon content of the waxy solid was found to be in between 85 and 90%, which is nearly same to the carbon content of gasoline, that is, 84.90 (Table 2), and the hydrogen content was in between 12 and 15% [20]. The gross heat value of the mixture of saturated hydrocarbons of Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poit was 18,990 cal/g, which is comparable with gasoline. The waxy solid obtained from F. obovata may have high combustion value because of its high carbon content [21], and the absence of nitrogen and oxygen also indicates its good fuel quality [22].

image

Figure 1. Infrared spectrum of waxy solid obtained from F. obovata.

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Table 2. Comparison of content (%) of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen of the isolated waxy compound with the literature data of the different fossil fuels.
MaterialCarbon (%)Hydrogen (%)Nitrogen (%)Oxygen (%)Reference
Waxy solid85–9012–15
Fuel oil85.6211.980.6[17]
Gasoline84.9014.76[17]
Anthracite coal79.72.96.17[20]
Lignite coal40.66.945.1[20]

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

The results of this study demonstrated that the waxy component obtained from F. obovata has shown similar physical/spectral characteristics with hydrocarbon content of other plants which are potential renewable source of hydrocarbons and energy. An extensive research is needed in future to evaluate the ecophysiology and to screen or ascertain the hydrocarbon content of this species on different agroecological conditions using modern genetic engineering technologies such as genetic transformation.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED

This work was supported by DOD/MoES. The authors thank the director of CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, for facilities and Mr. K.S. Murthy, I/C SMP Unit, Central Research Institute (AY), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, for identification of the plant.

LITERATURE CITED

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. MATERIALS AND METHODS
  5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
  6. CONCLUSIONS
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. LITERATURE CITED
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