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The Expanding Supercritical Fluid CO2 Extract Universe

By: Pierre-Jean Hellivan
Posted: November 16, 2012, from the November 2012 issue of P&F magazine.

Has the holy grail of extraction technology been found? Is supercritical CO2 the supreme vessel for the extraction of naturals? Are supercritical fl uid CO2 extracts (SFE) simply surfi ng the momentum of a fashionable wave within the perfumer and fl avorist palette, or do they provide long-term solutions to an ever-more demanding and regulated industry?

CO2 extracts have been all the rage lately: The technology is trendy, eco-friendly, effi cient, highly selective and flexible. CO2 extracts shine a new light of naturalness on the palette for delivering a sparkling fresh aroma. They are truest to the botanical starting material due to the gentle temperatures of the process. SFEs leave behind zero residual solvent and boast exceptional shelf life, thanks to the inert atmosphere of the process. The technology has the ability to yield incredibly selective fi ne fractionation of aroma profi les. Supercritical CO2 performs admirably not only on solid starting materials (such as spices and herbs), but also uniquely well on liquids such as fruit juices or nut oils—thereby opening the door to a wealth of new starting materials.

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