Citrus process plants around the world produce citrus juice and a number of by-products. One of these by-products is cold press citrus oil. The recovery of cold press oil is an important economical consideration in citrus processing operations, not only when a considerable volume is processed, but also in terms of economic value. Cold press lemon oil commands a significant value and is considered the product in some lemon producing areas, juice being the by-product.
In this article, the FMC oil recovery system and a review of the currently applied processing technology will be discussed. There are three unit operations (extraction, particulate separation and concentration) involved in the recovery of oil from citrus fruits. Each unit operation may involve the use of more than one piece of equipment.
Citrus oil is in oil sacs of oblate- to spherical-shaped oil glands located irregularly and at different depths in the outer, colored, portion of the peel (flavedo) of the fruit (Figure 1).