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Application of Supercritical CO2 Extraction Technology in Food Industry


The separation of natural organic components has been using organic solvent extraction, steam distillation, squeezing, etc.

Disadvantages of traditional extraction

The disadvantage of the steam distillation method is that the raw materials need to be heated, and the extraction of chemically unstable components is not applicable;
The disadvantage of the squeeze method is the low yield;
The disadvantage of the organic solvent extraction method is that when the solvent is removed, the product quality will be reduced or the organic solvent will remain;

Supercritical CO2 extraction

Supercritical CO2 extraction technology overcomes the shortcomings of the above-mentioned traditional separation methods, using high-pressure gas above the critical temperature as a solvent to separate, extract, and refine organic components.

1000l supercritical CO2 extraction equipment
1000l supercritical CO2 extraction equipment

In the food processing industry, fine chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, environmental fields, etc., supercritical CO2 extraction technology as a unique, efficient and clean new extraction method has shown good application prospects and has become the first choice to replace traditional chemical extraction methods ..

Supercritical CO2 extraction principle


Supercritical CO2 extraction technology uses supercritical CO2 fluid as a solvent, and utilizes the high permeability and high solubility in this state to extract and separate mixed substances.

When the CO2 fluid is in the supercritical state, its density is very close to the density of the liquid, and changes significantly with the change of fluid pressure and temperature. In the supercritical CO2 fluid, the solubility of solutes increases with the increase of density .

Under high pressure, supercritical CO2 fluid extraction uses this property to dissolve the solute in the fluid, and then reduce or increase the pressure or temperature of the fluid solution to precipitate the solute, so as to achieve the extraction of a specific solute.


  • The low operating temperature can better preserve the effective components of the extract without secondary biochemical production. The extraction can be completed at close to room temperature. The heat-sensitive food and the flavor of the food will not change; it is especially suitable for strong heat sensitivity, easy oxidation and decomposition, and easy to decompose. Extraction and separation of damaged components.
  • With selective extraction and separation of the essence of natural substances, it is selective in a high-pressure, closed and inert environment, and the extraction rate can be close to 100% under the most suitable process conditions, which greatly improves the yield and resource utilization of the product.
  • When the extraction process is simple, efficient and pollution-free, the raw materials and supercritical CO2 fluid are put into the extraction kettle together, and the components in the raw materials are selectively dissolved in the supercritical CO2 fluid, and then the supercritical CO2 of the extract is dissolved. The fluid enters the separation kettle after the constant temperature pressure reduction or constant pressure heating process, the extract and the supercritical CO2 fluid are separated in the separation kettle, and the separated supercritical CO2 fluid can be recycled and reused after purification .
  • As an atmospheric component, CO2 is non-toxic and harmless. There is no residual problem of organic solvents in the experimental process and industrial production process, which greatly improves the purity of target precipitates and prevents organic solvents from affecting food, humans, and the environment. The adverse effects.
  • Supercritical CO2 fluid extraction is carried out in a closed environment. The process flow is simple and the operability is strong. In theory, the solvent can continuously enter the system without recycling, which reduces the production period, improves production efficiency, and saves costs and human resources.

Application of Supercritical CO2 Extraction in Food Industry

Application in grease

fish oil supercritical CO2 extraction equipment
fish oil supercritical CO2 extraction equipment

Supercritical CO2 technology has a very good effect in the extraction and separation of fats and oils. For example, fish oil, rice bran oil, and ginger oil and other essential oils, the extraction rate basically reaches 80%~90%.

Separation of pigments

Lycopene supercritical CO2 extraction equipment
Lycopene supercritical CO2 extraction equipment

Food additives have greatly promoted the development of the food industry, including natural pigments. This technology is mainly embodied in the extraction and separation of various natural pigments in food, especially lycopene and β-carotene.

Pesticide residue detection in food

The problem of pesticide residues in food is one of the main problems of food safety at present.

Grain, as a basic food material, also has serious chemical pollution problems.

Organophosphorus, organochlorine, pyrethroid and carbamate pesticides are all important sources of food pollution. Supercritical CO2 has made rapid progress in food testing.

Supercritical CO technology, as a method with low pollution and fast separation, can be used to analyze and detect food. The extraction efficiency is higher than other methods, and the accuracy meets the requirements of the experimental conditions.

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