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Allelopathic compounds as bioherbicide for weed control: A solution circular bioeconomy for coffee farming waste.


Economic growth and social wellbeing are, usually, directly linked to negative environmental effects. In Brazil, different sorts of agro-industrial production function in parallel with agricultural production. Mostly, processing is conditioned to the generation of waste. Furthermore, weeds are responsible for considerable losses. These losses can be minimized by the use of natural compounds such as allelopathic compounds present in agricultural wastes. Thus, the study of allelopathic activity is of great relevance to the industry. Coffee represents an important source of economic growth for Brazil. Therefore, the scientific community has been interested on studying due to the environmental impact caused by the production of the grain. As a result, Brazil can be considered an important player on knowledge generation regarding coffee. The correct destination of these wastes generates opportunities for new ventures, given that it may contain compound of interest for several process, creating new sources of commercialization and reducing the environmental impact. During its processing, each ton of grain generates one ton of husk or peel, that are generally discarded in improper manners. Nevertheless, this waste, if processed properly can be transformed into components of industrial interest. The proponent already has promising results with its first technological platform: A high-grade organic fertilizer, with high organic carbon content, obtained by a catalyzed composting process of grape marcs. The company expects to use the financial resources requested to expand its product line by obtaining allelochemicals extracts from coffee waste and use the unextracted solid fraction to aggregate more volumes into the high-grade organic fertilizer already developed. It is expected to gain precise knowledge on the industrial application of allelochemicals and prove the technical feasibility of the pre-treatment of coffee marcs to introduce the solid fractions into the composting process. Regarding the properties of coffee marcs, several studies comprising allelopathy has been developed aiming to understand its effect on other species. It is possible to verify a trend on these studies, mainly due to the general mobilization around ecological preservation, the need to reduce costs and by the current evidence on incentives for the emerging market for organic products. Allelopathy consists of the chemical influence of a plant, inhibiting or stimulating the germination/ growth of others, by secreted substances during its development or decay. In coffee production allelopathy is used in an empirical basis. In order to make the practice more sustainable and effective it is important to gain knowledge about the specificity and intensity of the allelopathic potential present in the waste. The objective of the extraction of allelochemical compounds is to obtain a high added value product that can cause effects on the growth/ germination of plants that can be used as control or stimuli for certain cultures. (AU)

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