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Extraction and separation of plant essential oils

Extraction and separation of plant essential oils

   Essential oil, also known as volatile oil, is the general name of aromatic oil liquid in the plant body, and is widely used in medicine, nursing, daily food and other aspects. There are more than 300 kinds of aromatic and medicinal plants containing essential oils in China, but the amount of essential oils in the plants is generally below 1%, and the extraction and separation of the plant essential oils has become a hot research topic in this industry.
  I. Extraction technology of plant essential oils
    1.1 Ultra-high-pressure extraction method
The super-high pressure extraction technique is to quickly apply a hydrostatic pressure of more than 100MPa to the raw material at room temperature or low temperature for a certain time, so as to achieve the purpose of rapid and efficient extraction.
    1.2 Ultrasonic-assisted extraction
  Ultrasonic assisted extraction is the strong cavitation effect and secondary effect produced by the ultrasonic radiation pressure to improve the movement speed and frequency of the extraction component molecules, enhance the solvent penetration, make the full mixture of the extraction ingredients and the solvent, and improve the extraction efficiency.

Ethanol extraction equipment
Ethanol extraction Centrifuge
97% alcohol removal
Temperatures to -60 °C Operation
20-25minutes batch time
Ethanol solvent only
Multi-function jacketed housing supporting either liquid coolant or vacuum insulation


1.3 Microwave-assisted extraction
Microwave-assisted extraction is mainly through microwave penetration of the extraction medium, let the extraction medium absorb microwave energy, so that the cell rupture due to excessive internal pressure, the active component flow out and dissolved into the extract, and then the extract is obtained by subsequent filtration.
   1.4 Supercritical CO₂ extraction
Supercritical fluid extraction is an extraction technique with a supercritical fluid as a solvent, extracting certain effective fractions from a solid or liquid and separating it, characterized by a higher extraction rate and purity.
   In addition,Commonly used new essential oils extraction methods are also enzymatic extraction, co-workers distillation static headspace liquid-phase microextraction, subcritical extraction, microcapsule aqueous two-phase extraction, etc.Novel essential oils extraction generally has the advantages of high oil yield, short extraction time, and less destruction of active ingredients, but it is more process and cost demanding.
  II. Separation technology of plant essential oils
The essential oils derived from plants are mixtures and have to be further separated for a single chemical, there are several common separation methods.
   1 Molecular distillation method
The technique is separated by using the difference of molecular motion freedom of different substances. It can be operated away from the boiling point. It has the characteristics of low distillation pressure, short heating time and high separation degree, which can greatly reduce the separation cost of high boiling point materials and can protect heat sensitive substances well. Therefore, molecular distillation technology is particularly suitable for the separation of materials with high boiling point and thermal sensitivity, especially volatile oil and active ingredients for extremely temperature-sensitive natural products.

Wiped film short path distillation
High borosilicate glass
Short separation time
Vacuum up to 1PA away from boiling point
Materials for Thermal Sensitivity
Liquid-liquid separation



Wiped film short path distillation
Stainless steel 316L & 304
Short separation time, Better thermal conductivity
Vacuum up to 1PA away from boiling point
Materials for Thermal Sensitivity
Liquid-liquid separation

  2 Crystal method
Frozen crystallization method uses the cryogenic freezing method to precipitate some compounds in the essential oil in solid crystallization, and then separate the solid from other liquid components to obtain a more pure product. Crystal extraction and separation technology is small, and multiple purification is required to meet the required product requirements. In practical application, glass crystal reactor is generally used for small test research, and stainless steel crystal reactor is used.


Jacketed nutsche glass filter reactor
Capacity from 150ml to 100l
Reaction + filtration
For solid-liquid separation with a high degree of containment and material safety
Jacketed & Full surrounding jacketed
Easy mounting and unmounting of the filtration part
No leaks or bypass around the filter membrane

  3. Chemical separation method
Chemical separation method is a chemical method according to the structure of the components or functional groups in the essential oil.
  4. Flash Chromatography System
Chromatography with silica and alumina is a common means to separating essential oil components. Combining chromatography with separation was better.

        With the development and progress of industry, the extraction and separation technology of essential oil has gradually tended to mature. The extraction and separation of common plant essential oils such as mint, jasmine, rose and lavender has approached saturation. The extraction and separation of small molecules and pure natural plant essential oil has become a new market demand, and also puts forward higher requirements for laboratory separation equipment.

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