Wheat bran, the major side-stream generated in the milling of wheat grains in the production of white flour, contains significant quantities of carbohydrate and proteins. While not interfering with flour utilization, the bran could be considered as an important feedstock within a biorefinery concept. Wheat bran also contains some amounts of lipids that can be used as a source of valuable phytochemicals. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis of the lipid composition of destarched wheat bran demonstrated that the predominant lipids found in wheat bran were free fatty acids (ca. 40% of total lipids), followed by acylglycerols (40%). Additionally, important amounts of alkylresorcinols (13% of total lipids) and steroid compounds (hydrocarbons, ketones, free sterols, sterol glycosides, sterol esters, and sterol ferulates) (7% of total lipids) were also present among the lipids of wheat bran. The use of wheat bran as a valuable source of phytochemicals of interest in the context of a wheat bran biorefinery is discussed.
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