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Supercritical CO2 Fluid Extraction of β-Carotene



β-carotene is a carbohydrate carotenoid widely present in plants and animal tissues. It can be decomposed into two molecules of vitamin A in the body. It is a good provitamin A and has all the physiological functions of vitamin A. active.

At the same time, β-carotene has a strong ability to scavenge singlet oxygen, so it has important functions of anti-cancer and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Concern and attention, in 1989, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization identified β-carotene as an excellent food additive of Class A, and it is currently used in 52 countries and regions.

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However, the output of β-carotene in the world is very small, and it is generally chemically synthesized, and the main manufacturer is Sumitomo Chemical Company of Japan. The well-known Swiss pharmaceutical company ROCHE also produces a small amount of β-carotene, but it is all transferred to Sankyo Corporation through a subsidiary in Japan to make various dosage forms. China produces fewer units and quantities of β-carotene, which cannot meet people’s needs.

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β-carotene extraction method

Solvent extraction

The traditional extraction methods of β-carotene include organic solvent extraction, precipitant enrichment and so on. Although β-carotene can be effectively extracted by the organic solvent method, most organic solvents will contaminate the product, and the separation process is complicated.

CO2 extraction

Since β-carotene is a fat-soluble substance, at 50°C and 29.5MPa, the solubility of pure β-carotene in CO2 is 5.3g/m3, and the solubility will be greater when it coexists with other complex organic components in raw materials. Therefore, it is possible to extract β-carotene with supercritical CO2 fluid.

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Process flow of CO2 extraction of β-carotene

Using supercritical CO2 fluid to extract β-carotene from raw materials such as seaweed, sweet potato, carrot and alfalfa leaf protein concentrate, the process flow is: raw material→pretreatment→supercritical CO2 fluid extraction→extraction containing β-carotene thing.

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