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Supercritical CO2 Extraction

ANC’s Advanced Supercritical CO2 Extraction Technology
One of ANC’s many advanced technological capabilities is Supercritical CO2 Extraction. Great for capturing the oil content in plants, as well as a wide range of other constituents, the Supercritical CO2 Extraction process uses semi-liquid-gaseous or supercritical carbon dioxide as a solvent to create high purity extracts of non-polar, lipid soluble bioactive compounds. Because CO2 is non-toxic, non-flammable, and leaves no residues, it is eco-friendly, posing no risk for accidental release, or residual hazardous wastes.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction works via the principal of supercritical fluids, by which a gas such as CO2 is pressurized to 200 to 300 bars (1 bar is equal to one atmosphere of pressure) at normal or moderately elevated temperatures. Under these conditions, CO2 becomes a highly dense gas that behaves just like a liquid solvent and is able to permeate every part of the plant material to dissolve non-polar, lipid soluble compounds.
Because every compound has specific solubility and lipophilic characteristics, it is possible to fine tune pressure and temperature conditions to extract either a broad range of compounds, or a narrow choice of single compounds, if required. For example, rosemary contains non-polar diterpenes that include carnosic acid and carnosol, but by tightly controlling the extraction parameters it is possible to extract just carnosic acid if it is needed for high purity applications.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction – Features
• For non-polar, lipophilic compounds – as a complement to water extraction
• Effectively extracts essential oils, carotenoids, terpenes, oil soluble vitamins, unsaturated oils, alkaloids
• Oxygen-free atmosphere protects from oxidation
• No solvent residues of hydrocarbon solvent extractions (hexane, acetone, etc…)
• Better than cold pressing oils, which are exposed to sensitive-compound-damaging heat and oxidation
• Low temperature process – could be as low as 31 ˚C
• High efficiency extraction with no waste: exhaustive yield of bioactives from plant mass
• Customizable – Many different plant fractions are possible by changing T and P
• Contaminant free – low extraction of heavy metals and in-organics
• Bacterial inactivation – SCF sterilization
• Non-toxic CO2 converts back into a gas after extraction and leaves no residue
• CO2 is recycled internally – does not add to the burden of greenhouse gases

Supercritical CO2 Extracts: Product Ideas

There is a world of ingredient possibilities when using Supercritical CO2 Extraction.
The compounds derived from Supercritical CO2 Extraction include high purity oils, while preserving delicate omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids, precious essential oils, flavors, carotenoids, and aromatic compounds. The process can also be used for water insoluble bioactive phytocompounds, such as lipophilic flavonoids and phenolics.
Examples of these compounds include the natural relaxant from magnolia bark known ashonokiol, gingerols from ginger, hops alpha and beta acids, kavalactones from kava root,resveratrol, rosemary diterpenes, highly concentrated ginkgo flavonoids, and catechins frompeanut skin wastes.
Highly purified alkaloids with potent physiological effects are possible with this technology. The pain killing non-addictive alkaloids matrine and oxymatrine from Sophora flavescens can be highly concentrated without the typical need for toxic hydrocarbon solvents. Lotus seeds contain CO2 extractable alkaloids such as nuciferine that have tranquilzing and erectile promoting effects. Rosavin, a hydroxycinnmate, can be extracted at higher levels than with water or alcohol and can be used for anti-depressant and energy benefits.
Highly unsaturated fragile oils from sources such as pomegranate seed, sea buckthorn berry, flax seed, chia, borage, krill, and evening primrose can be extracted with this process to yield oils with no hexane solvent residues and very low peroxide values.
Expeller pressed oils are often subjected to high heat from the friction and pressures employed, however CO2 extraction while under higher pressure is tightly controlled in its thermal conditions. Also, since CO2 is an inert, non-reactive gas, there is not a chance that oxidation can occur with all oxygen having been purged from the reaction vessel.
For food processing, Supercritical CO2 Extraction is very amenable to capturing bioactive compounds in cases where there is a requirement for low temperature processing, large biomass efficiency, and no solvent in the final product. Heat treatment can be avoided due to the killing effects of high CO2 pressure on microbes, making extracts safe for food, beverage, and cosmetic uses.
Examples of food processing technologies that benefit from Supercritical CO2 Extraction:
• efficient decaffeination of green and black teas and green coffee beans
• production of hops extracts
• aromas and flavors from herbs and spices
• extraction and fractionation of edible oils
• thorough removal of contaminants
Essential oil compounds such as citral with brain bioactive effects can be extracted from lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), lemongrass, and other lemon type herbs. Fresh cut yellow ginger oilrich in non-oxidized aromatic components including zingeribene, and citrusy compoenets are only possible using the quick, fresh processing characteristics of CO2.
Many economically produced byproducts are possible from the food processing industry. Lycopene has been extracted from tomato seed and skin byproducts making it more cost effective. Lycopene is used for prostate health, cardiovascular health, and has UV blocking and skin moisturizing properties. Other bioactives present in tomato seed and skin include the tocotrienols δ, γ, α, and the vitamin E tocpherols δ, γ, and α which are also vital for heart health.
Other essential oils with profiles more similar to the natural sources than steam distillation includepeppermint oils, cinnamon oil, roasted peanut flavor aromatics, rosemary, lavender, orange, chamomile, etc.. Individual components can be harvested from these essential oils through different stages and process parameters of CO2 extraction. For example, chamomile oilcontains a pale blue oil constituents azulene and chamazulene skin anti-inflammatory properties that can isolated.
Fresh cut yellow ginger oil has many uses for food/beverage flavoring, cosmetic scents, soaps, candles, aromatherapy. Its multiple medicinal uses include the following: analgesic, anti-emetic, antiseptic, bactericidal, carminative, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, carbuncles, nausea, hangovers, travel and sea sickness, colds and flu, catarrh, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sores on the skin, sore throat, diarrhea, colic, cramps, chills and fever. It is also used for stress relief, depression, mental stress, exhaustion, dizziness, restlessness and anxiety, impotence and treating premature ejaculation.
ANC manufactures Sea Buckthorn oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Fresh Cut Ginger Oil, Honokiol, and others using supercritical fluid CO2 extraction. We can also process many other natural products as highlighted in this review for custom orders.