Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 577–583 | Cite as

Alkaline extraction of seaweed carrageenan hydrocolloids using cocoa pod husk ash

  • Nanna Rhein-Knudsen
  • Marcel Tutor Ale
  • Søren Rasmussen
  • Simon Kjær Kamp
  • Joseph A. Bentil
  • Anne S. MeyerEmail author
Original Article


The cocoa industry in Ghana is the second largest in the world, and it generates huge amounts of cocoa pod husks, which currently represent a disposal problem as no significant use has been found for them. The husks are rich in potassium, which may be used for alkaline hydrocolloid extraction from red seaweeds. Chemical and rheological properties of κ-carrageenan from Kappaphycus alvarezii and the Ghanaian red seaweed Hypnea musciformis extracted by KOH (benchmark) or by a cocoa pod husk ash solution were compared. Similar extraction yields and successful modification of the seaweed hydrocolloids with 3,6-anhydro-galactopyranose and sulfate contents of 37–38 and 16–17%, respectively, were obtained with cocoa pod husk ash and KOH extraction. Gel strengths of the κ-carrageenans were also similar: G′ at 25 °C were 5780 Pa with cocoa pod husk ash and 5930 Pa with KOH. These findings have implications for industrial waste biomass utilization and sustainable green growth development of seaweed hydrocolloid processing in Ghana.


Potassium Carrageenan Hypnea Rheology Circular economy 


Funding information

This paper is part of the Seaweed Biorefinery Research Project in Ghana (SeaBioGha) supported by Denmark’s development cooperation (Grant DANIDA-14-01DTU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. We thank the Water Research Institute (WRI), Council for Scientific Research (CSIR), Accra, Ghana for their technical assistance in collecting the seaweed samples and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana for supplying the cocoa pod husk. We also appreciate the donation of cultivated Kappaphycus alvarezii from NhaTrang Institute of Technology Research and Application, Vietnam. Soheila G. Parto, CHEC Research Centre, Dept. of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Søltofts Plads 229, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby Denmark is thanked for assisting with GC-analyses.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Bioprocess Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

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