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Comment Separation Processes

Solvent-free recovery of plant-based extracts

By Mary Page Bailey |

Plant-based extracts, such as antioxidants, phytochemicals and polyphenols, are used in a number of end-markets, including cosmetics, foods and nutritional supplements. A proprietary, low-polarity, pressurized-water extraction method is set to drastically improve the recovery of useful ingredients from botanical sources. Mazza Innovation Ltd. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada; www.mazzainnovation.com) designed the PhytoClean botanical extraction technology to be free of solvents, preservatives and excipients, making it more environmentally friendly than similar extraction technologies.

Typically, botanical extraction processes depend on hydrocarbon-based solvents, which can lead to the presence of residual solvents or carrier compounds in end products. The PhytoClean method uses only water, manipulating the polarity of water molecules to control the solubility of targeted bioactive compounds at temperature and pressure conditions where water is still a liquid but its hydrogen bonds are disrupted, enabling the concentration of bioactive compounds in the water. According to the company, this method has shown comparable or better performance with regard to processing time, selectivity and yield, when compared to traditional extraction solvents, particularly for extractions from berry pomace and leafy plants. In addition to eliminating the use of solvents, the PhytoClean method does not require that raw materials be dried or ground up prior to extraction, providing lower costs and easier material-quality validation.

Mazza Innovation is set to significantly expand the commercial reach of the PhytoClean process. The company was acquired in July by global manufacturing firm Sensient Technologies Corp. (Milwaukee, Wisc.; www.sensient.com), and signed a longterm supply agreement with BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) to develop new botanical solutions for cosmetics applications. “The BASF partnership is the largest for Mazza so far in the cosmetics area, and it provides an exciting entry into a very large untapped market for us,” says Benjamin Lightburn, Mazza Innovation chief executive officer. To meet the stringent quality standards required by BASF, Mazza implemented a unique quality-control measure designed specifically for this partnership, explains Lightburn.

solvent-free recovery

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