CO2 Extraction Ideas

Draco Product Lines

Supercritical CO2 Extracts: Product Ideas

Supercritical CO2 extraction does a great job of capturing the essential oils in plant materials.

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There is a world of 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 as honokiol, gingerols from gingerhops alpha and beta acids, kavalactones from kava root, resveratrolrosemary diterpenes, highly concentrated ginkgo flavonoids, and catechins from peanut 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 oil rich 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 include peppermint 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 oil contains 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.

Draco 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.