Demand for safe foods has led to stringent government regulations
on the use of organic solvents in the food processing industry.
The need to replace toxic organic solvents with an environmentally
benign, non-flammable, and inexpensive alternative has led to the rapid development of supercritical CO2 technology in the food industry. The supercritical CO2 process is cleaner and the extracts obtained have longer shelf life and better blending characteristics due to co-extraction of antioxidants and lipids.
Previously, chlorinated solvents were used for extraction of hops and the decaffeination of coffee resulting in residual toxic solvents remaining in the food products. Chlorinated solvents are now banned in the food industry, but other solvents are still in use today. For example, hexane is the solvent most commonly used today in the food industry for the extraction of oil from oil seeds. However, in the USA, the residual hexane content in food products has to be less than 25 ppm and the limit is expected to be reduced to a lower level. In Japan and Europe, even 25-ppm hexane in extracts is to be banned. A similar trend is observed in other applications using different organic solvents as well. The trend is gaining momentum and thus organic solvent extraction processes may be phased out in the near future.
The advantages of SCF extraction over conventional solvent extraction are:
The main commercial scale food applications using supercritical CO2 processing are:
At Applied Separations, we have a proven commitment to advancing Supercritical Fluids technology and have worked with companies all over the world to incorporate SCF into their processes. Thanks to a top-notch R&D team, in-house engineers, and visionary approach, we're working hard to develop and enhance applications of this green technology in many unexpected industries.
Contact us and we'll work with you to develop a supercritical fluid application for your needs.
You have small amounts to process, or you need to perfect your method.