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We are all familiar with essential oils and the role they play in natural aromatherapy and product development, but what do you know about CO2 extracts? Despite their impressive versatility and range of valuable traits, CO2 extracts have not become as trendy as essential oils...yet! As soon as you learn about the benefits and applications of CO2 extracts, you will realise they are exactly what your product formulas have been missing.
Also known as supercritical CO2 extracts or supercritical fluid CO2 extracts, these are pure plant extracts obtained from a new, innovative, and efficient extraction process. In short, CO2 extracts are similar to essential oils but obtained in a different and possibly purer manner.
Carbon Dioxide is a gas in its natural state, but it can be pressurized to have fluid like properties. In order to obtain CO2 extracts, pressurised carbon dioxide is pumped into a chamber filled with plant matter, like lavender or ginger. The pressure makes the carbon dioxide “supercritical”, which means it takes on liquid properties while still in a gaseous state. This unique supercritical state makes it possible for the CO2 to act as the solvent that pulls the oils, pigments, and resin from the plant matter.
Essential oils are extracted from plants in a few different ways based on the plant. Steam distillation is the most widely utilised method that involves four steps. First, water is heated to boiling in one chamber. The steam produced from the boiling water is directed into a second chamber holding the plant material. The essential oils inside the plant material are forced out by the steam. They vaporise within the steam, travel into a cooling mechanism to revert into a liquid state, and then drip into a collection chamber where the oil and water become separated and bottled.
This steam distillation process occurs around 140 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit to create the necessary steam. C02 extraction is different because it only requires the temperature to hover between 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to this lower temperature, CO2 extraction is capable of producing superior oils that are not altered or diminished by the high heat. CO2 extraction also pulls constituents from plants beyond the oils, including the resin and pigments, so CO2 extracts contain a fuller spectrum of valuable plant elements.
Dutch aromatherapist Madeleine Kayes sums it up nicely by explaining that the scent of CO2 extracted oil is often “richer and more intense because more aromatic components are present.”
Spices are especially superior when obtained through CO2 extraction. Cardamom, Ginger, and Pink Pepper extracts are just a few examples of products that can be added to foods, beverages, personal care, and other products to give consumers the very best aroma, taste, and benefits.
Aromatic Ingredients offers a range of extracts which are used over many market sectors with pure ingredients. Whether you’re producing scents or flavours for your cosmetics or adding extracts to foods or beverages, we ensure a quality product with a variety of advantages for your brand. Call us at 03 9702 3698 to learn more