Supercritical Extraction

Supercritical extraction is essentially a liquid extraction process employing compressed gases under supercritical conditions instead of solvents. The extraction characteristics are based on the solvent properties of the compressed gases or mixtures.

From an environmental point of view, the choice of the extraction gas is critical, and, to date, only the use of CO2 qualifies as an environmentally benign solution. CO2 is easy to handle and requires few safety precautions. Table 3.8.2 summarizes the applications of the supercritical extraction of natural products.

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