Supercritical CO2 extraction
The extraction of bioactive substances from plant matrices is conducted employing carbon dioxide (CO2) as the extraction fluid in supercritical conditions; this extraction can be highly selective by adequately modifying the pressure conditions (which can reach up to 1000 bar) and temperature (which never exceeds 80°C).
Raw plant materials, correctly dried and ground, are put into the system. Carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas that under specific environmental conditions (temperature of 31.1°C and pressure of 73.8 bar) is in the supercritical phase, is brought to the required temperature and pressure, thus starting the extraction phase.
Upon completion of the extraction, the pressure is lowered and the CO2 loses its solvent strength releasing the extracted substances that are available in concentrated form.
The resulting extracts are microbiologically stable and do not require preservatives. Unlike conventional processes, the selectivity of ILSA’s extraction process does not involve thermally stressing the raw materials and does not require the use of organic solvents.
Because of its very low environmental impact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration – USA) has designated this industrial process GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe).