What are critical CO2 extracts

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What are supercritical CO2 extracts?

What is characteristic of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction technology and why it is considered the most innovative and environmentally friendly method of extracting the beneficial ingredients from plants

Customers often ask us what is the advantage of supercritical CO2 extracts in the composition of our luxury organic cosmetic line Natural & Deluxe, what is the difference? We will try to briefly clarify what the technology is and what advantages it provides.

Supercritical CO2 extraction is the most gentle, innovative method for extracting the useful ingredients from plants – without traces of chemical agents, the finest aromatic molecules, carriers of the priceless, healing substances from nature, are obtained.

What is the technology

Extraction with supercritical fluids and liquefied gases is the most advanced technology worldwide, which uses the properties of carbon dioxide CO2 as a solvent. At high pressure and low operating temperature, carbon dioxide “enters” a supercritical phase and dissolves substances from the plant matrix – aromatic molecules, active substances and vitamins, without changing their properties.

At certain values of temperature and pressure, the liquid and gaseous phases of a given fluid become indistinguishable. These conditions are called supercritical conditions, and the resulting substance a supercritical fluid. In this way, the technology allows to exploit the advantages of the liquid and gaseous state. Supercritical CO2 has increased liquid-like density, reduced gas-like viscosity, surface tension, and increased diffusivity.

Thus, CO2 extraction provides ideal conditions for the extraction of a wide range of substances, including those that are thermolabile. Because CO2 is non-toxic, odorless, environmentally acceptable (does not directly deplete the ozone layer), and is cheap and available, it is the most widely used gas for supercritical extraction. Compared to more toxic extractants such as hexane, CO2 does not leave dangerous residual amounts of extractant after extraction.

What are the advantages of supercritical extracts

Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction technology is an ecological alternative to conventional methods for the extraction of biologically active substances from medicinal and aromatic plants. It has a number of advantages compared to conventional and classic forms of extraction:

> Limits the use of toxic organic solvents (hexane, methanol, acetone, etc.), which have a harmful effect on health and the environment.

> Due to the low temperatures of the process, the decomposition of the thermo-sensitive components is avoided and the most volatile top notes of the extracted aromas are preserved.

> Valuable substances are extracted such as – vitamins, pigments, phytosterols and others that cannot be obtained with other techniques.

> After the extraction process is completed, the carbon dioxide is completely released in a gaseous state from the extracted product, leaving the extract absolutely pure, without traces of solvent. This is a major problem with conventional extraction that uses hexane or petroleum ethers as a solvent. These are highly toxic substances that are always present in extracts and, accordingly, in cosmetic products.

> The applied technology allows fractional extraction of targeted substances, i.e. the process possesses an extraction selectivity that is impossible to achieve with other techniques.

> The obtained extracts are practically sterile, because the microorganisms die at the high pressure and low temperature.

> A larger amount of extract is obtained for a shorter extraction time, which prevents oxidation and destruction of the biologically active substances.

The only ones in Bulgaria with CO2 extraction technology

Without exaggeration, we can proudly claim leadership in Bulgaria when it comes to the broad spectrum of technological diversity for the processing of raw materials.We have 3 different technologies:

  • classic steam and water-steam distillation for the production of essential oils and floral waters – a technology used by all distilleries in Bulgaria. Our distillery is one of the most modern, designed and built in the traditions of more than 300 years of experience in the production of essential oils in Bulgaria;
  • cavitation extraction, unparalleled in the country – a technology applied to the deep extraction of plant raw materials in order to extract active substances. This is done by disrupting the cellular structures and extracting the intracellular components by applying micro implosion.
  • extraction with supercritical fluids and liquefied gases – the most advanced technology in the world, allowing to extract even the finest aromatic molecules, inaccessible to other methods. This, in combination with the unique diversity of the flora in Bulgaria, is the basis for the production of exclusive and unique in the world new aromas and natural extracts.

Thanks to the technological advantages, from Ecomaat we manage to extract and invest in our final products extremely high-quality and at the same time unique worldwide raw materials, such as 100% natural, bio-certified extracts of Linden, Iris, Lilac.

Many of you have firsthand experience with the advantages of supercritical CO2 extracts included in the composition of the Natural & Deluxe series – linden, iris, lilac, rose, zdravetz, rose hip, vetiver, and others. Thanks to science and modern technology, we manage to extract real treasures hidden in plants to offer you products of incomparable purity and quality that take care of your health and beauty.

You can learn more about the series in the article Natural & Deluxe – 100% organic luxury for the skin >

In case you have any questions about the products and how to use them – we will be happy to answer at hello@ecomaat.eu  or on our FB page.