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Publication Title | SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE EXTRACTION OF ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL

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SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE EXTRACTION OF ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL

Ioan Găinar∗, Manuela Zorca

abstract: The supercritical fluid extraction of rosemary essential oil was studied using CO2 as solvent. The effect of mean particle size of rosemary leaves in the range of 0.2 to 1.0 mm was analyzed in a series of experiments at 40°C and 100 bar. The colected extracts were analyzed by GC-MS and the relative composition of the essential oil was determined.

Introduction

After two decades of industrial development, supercritical fluids applications to natural products extraction/fractionation, both for food and pharmaceutical products, are continuing to slowly spread worldwide still with a wide potential as high quality products are more and more required and environment/health problems are more and more considered. In the meantime, numerous new applications of supercritical fluids are investigated and are beginning to reach large-scale development.

One of the most studied problems in supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) is the research of the optimum conditions for the extraction of flavour characteristic compounds from herbs, flowers and roots. In fact, on this matter many works are avaible in the scientific literature [1÷5]. The supercritical solvent is a rule CO2 and the SFE process usually adopted consists of one separation stage only. This process arrangement revealed to be not suitable to obtain essential oils: it produces concrete like extracts, due to coextraction of cuticular waxes. Moreover, when the SFE has been conducted in non optimized conditions, the simultaneous extraction of some further families of unwanted compounds like fatty acids and their methyl esters has been produced. It has been demonstrated that it is necessary to adopt more complex process schemes to realize a better extraction selectivity [6].

At the University of Bucharest, we developed a laboratory scale SFE plant that allows the fractional separation of supercritical extracts. This process arrangement is very effective in obtaining high quality essential oils [7÷11].

In the present work, experiments have been performed on rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, fam. Lamiaceae) leaves. The objective is to study the influence of mean particle size on the composition of oils and on the yield of the extractions.

∗ Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Bucharest, 4-12 Regina Elisabeta Blvd., 70346 Bucharest, ROMANIA

Analele UniversităŃii din Bucureşti – Chimie, Anul XIV (serie nouă), vol. I-II, pg. 287-290 Copyright © 2005 Analele UniversităŃii din Bucureşti

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