Why Do we pick actives based on supercritical CO2?
Here are the primary reasons.
– It is a natural product, abundant in nature and available.
– It is non-toxic, inert, odorless, colorless and tasteless.
– Its use does not alter the products, and does not generate polluting residues.
– Inexpensive, it makes the technique attractive and viable.
The supercritical CO2 extraction technique is simply the solvent extraction technique, but using carbon dioxide in the supercritical state as solvent. Any supercritical fluid can be used as a solvent, but its low critical temperature (31 ° C) makes CO2 an easy to obtain solvent.
At the start of the supercritical CO2 extraction, the crushed plants are placed in cylindrical “baskets” fitted with filters at both ends. The baskets are then placed in the extractor, where a pump ensures the circulation of CO2 in the supercritical state. The essential oil is then dissolved in CO2 in the form of a fluid. This is then returned to the gaseous state and separates from the extracted compound, before being sent to the liquefier to be reused.
CO2, unlike some widely used solvents such as hexane, is not flammable and therefore safer.
Known for almost 25 years and frequently used in the food industry, pharmacy, chemistry and biochemistry, it is not yet widespread in the perfume industry, despite its many advantages :
- A) No chemical used
1) Odor very close to natural odor
The extraction is “clean”: no chemical which would distort the aroma of the plant is used. In addition, the critical point of CO2 being at 31 °, we can work at low temperature and avoid denaturing the product.
2) No CMR (Carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic)
Most solvents or synthesis aids (products used in the composition of perfumes and aromas) used in perfumery are CMRs: that is to say Carcinogenic, Mutagenic and Reprotoxic. Companies that use supercritical CO2 reduce the risk of employee exposure during operations, as well as the risk of air, water and soil pollution in the event of an incident during storage or handling.
- B) Very little loss compared to an ordinary solvent