Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction: Why It Is Superior to Other Extraction Methods

The majority of traditional methods for extraction suffer from weaknesses that limit the amount of pure substances that can be obtained from the plant. Supercritical CO2 extraction is an emerging method that proves favorable in many ways because of its ability to isolate vitamins and other substances. Also, this procedure can offer medical benefits that may be used in developing neutraceuticals and other products.

What Exactly is Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction?

This technique is meant to separate substance from within a plant. Such an approach combines other techniques to simplify and optimize the extraction process. Extracting substances from cannabis plants and hemp seed has become more popular while the markets for the relevant ingredients have increased with recent regulatory changes. But, the main challenge to meet this new demand is accessing safe and dependable extraction techniques.

How It Works

Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction involves putting plant material into an extraction vessel and pumping in carbon dioxide that has been exposed to high pressures and temperatures. CO2 dissolves parts of the plant. As the valve’s opening releases the pressure, the dissolved material will flow into another vessel where heat and pressure are modified further to improve the material’s bonding to the CO2. The bonding facilitates the separation of the main ingredients from the plant.

Benefits of Supercritical CO2 Extraction

Supercritical carbon dioxide processing is superior to other extraction methods because of the following reasons:

  • Production of pure, quality products. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is the only method that completely eliminates heavy metal and toxins during the extraction process. It can ensure no residual solvent is left on the product. Other extraction methods require solvents to be removed from the final product. Supercritical CO2 processing allows the isolation of a pure product, ensuring the final product is free of organic solvents.

  • Efficient product recovery. Supercritical CO2 extrication allows for little degradation to take place. Also, it lets allows for higher product yields by capturing more of the product.
  • Target ingredient customization. Techniques to manipulate the supercritical carbon dioxide’s physical properties allow researchers to encourage binding between CO2 and the molecule of interest. Also, studies focused on ways to optimize the extraction of certain compounds are boosting the understanding of scientists of how best to get pure, uncontaminated substances in favorable volumes.
  • Green chemistry. Supercritical CO2 extraction is an example of green chemistry since it is a clean and safe process without negative effects on the environment.

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