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2022 Guide to the Optimization Intact Lycopene CO2 Extraction Process

Lycopene is a natural carotenoid with the chemical name all-trans-lycopene, which is a red pigment in plants such as tomatoes. The chemical structure of lycopene contains 11 conjugated double bonds, which give it powerful antioxidant properties.

Six applications of lycopene

Lycopene is widely used in food and health products industry. Here are the six main applications of lycopene:

  1. Antioxidant: Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals in the body, reduce oxidative stress damage to cells and tissues, and have good health effects in anti-aging and prevention of chronic diseases.
  2. Eye Health: Lycopene is beneficial for eye health, especially for its protective effect against eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  3. Cardiovascular health: Lycopene can lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and has a positive effect on heart health.
  4. Anti-cancer effect: Some studies have shown that lycopene may have an inhibitory effect on certain cancers, such as prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and lung cancer.
  5. Beauty and beauty: lycopene is good for skin health, can help reduce skin aging, keep skin smooth and elastic.
  6. In addition, lycopene is also widely used in food, health products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other fields, such as lycopene nutritional supplements, lycopene face cream, lycopene pigment, etc. or professional advice.

Lycopene four extraction methods

Lycopene is a natural nutrient, mainly found in tomatoes and other plants. It has a strong antioxidant effect and is beneficial to maintaining eye health and preventing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The following are four common extraction methods of lycopene:

  • Hot water extraction method: put tomato pieces into hot water, heat to 80-90°C, and keep for a certain period of time to dissolve lycopene in water. The tomato pulp is then filtered to obtain tomato juice containing lycopene.
  • Organic solvent extraction method: Soak the tomato pieces in an organic solvent (such as ethyl acetate, ethanol, etc.), and dissolve lycopene in the solvent by stirring and heating. Then the tomato pulp is separated from the solvent to obtain a solvent liquid containing lycopene.
  • Supercritical fluid extraction method: using supercritical carbon dioxide as the extraction solvent, the tomato pieces are contacted with supercritical carbon dioxide under high temperature and high pressure to dissolve lycopene in supercritical carbon dioxide. Then, by reducing the pressure and temperature, the lycopene in the solvent is precipitated to obtain a supercritical fluid extraction product containing lycopene.
  • Phospholipid extraction method: mix tomato pieces with phospholipids (such as soybean phospholipids, lecithin, etc.) to form an emulsion, and then dissolve lycopene in the emulsion by high-pressure homogenization and ultrasonic treatment. Finally, the lycopene is separated from the emulsion by centrifugation or filtration to obtain a lycopene-containing phospholipid body product.

Among the above extraction methods, hot water extraction and organic solvent extraction are more common, while supercritical fluid extraction and phospholipid extraction are more commonly used under some specific production conditions.

4 CO2 extraction process parameters


The average yield of tomato powder is (2.59±0.1)%.

Wash and weigh the fresh tomatoes, put them in the crusher, add 2 times the volume of water, stir evenly, and put the homogenate in the centrifuge. Centrifuge at 4000 r/min for 10 min, take out the precipitate, weigh it, and put it in the refrigerator.
After pre-frozen, freeze-dried in a freeze dryer for 2 days, grind into tomato powder, weigh the mass of tomato powder and calculate its yield, and store it in a brown bottle protected from light.

Extraction Pressure

When the extraction pressure was 35 MPa, the extraction rate reached the maximum value of 73.8%.

The extraction rate of lycopene first increased and then decreased with the extraction pressure. This is because when the extraction temperature is fixed, the density of supercritical CO2 increases with the increase of the extraction pressure, which causes the solubility of the solvent to increase, and the extraction pressure is too high, which in turn causes interactions between various molecules, and finally condenses the modifier This leads to a decrease in solubility and changes the extraction rate.

Extraction temperature

When the extraction temperature is raised from 35 ℃ to 45 ℃, the extraction rate of lycopene is significantly improved, which shows that the influence of extraction temperature on the solubility of supercritical CO2 is less than that on the volatility of the extract.

When the extraction temperature reaches 45 ℃, the extraction rate is 80.8%; when the extraction temperature is increased from 45 ℃ to 55 ℃, the extraction rate of lycopene is significantly reduced. At this time, the influence of the extraction temperature on the solubility of the extract is greater than the influence of the extraction temperature on the volatility of the extract. At the same time, because lycopene is a heat-sensitive material when the extraction temperature is higher than 50 ℃ for a long time, it will partially degrade lycopene, which is also the reason for the decrease in extraction rate.

In experiments in other universities, hot-air dried tomato powder was used as raw material, and the optimal extraction temperature obtained by supercritical CO2 was 50 ℃. This may be related to factors such as raw material pretreatment methods, test equipment, and tomato varieties, which led to the experiment. There is a deviation.

Extraction time

When the static extraction time is 90 min, the extraction rate of lycopene reaches the maximum value, which is 90.7%.

Under the static extraction time of 30~90 min, the extraction rate of lycopene increases with the increase of the static extraction time. This may be because within 90 minutes, the longer the extraction time, the longer the interaction time between the supercritical fluid and the extracted material, so the extraction rate increases accordingly. After reaching the peak, as the static extraction time increases, the lycopene The extraction rate of lycopene is reduced, which may be because the heat-sensitive lycopene is heated at 45 ℃ for a long time, which causes part of the lycopene to degrade and volatilize, which reduces the extraction rate.

Summary of the CO2 extraction process

Supercritical co2 fluid extraction is a separation technology that extracts target components by heating and pressurizing the fluid at a state higher than the critical extraction temperature and critical pressure. The density of the supercritical fluid can be changed by changing the extraction temperature or pressure, thereby changing the fluid’s density. Solubility.

In our experiments, we select the main factors that have a significant influence on extraction pressure, extraction temperature, time, and CO2 flow rate, and use the single factor and response surface method to determine the optimization process for supercritical CO2 extraction of lycopene: pressure is 35 MPa, CO2 flow rate It is * L/h, the extraction temperature is 46 ℃, and the extraction time is 90 min.

Under these conditions, the optimal extraction rate of lycopene was 90.21%, and the measured lycopene content was 3648.57 μg/g. Compared with raw materials that have not been processed and dried, the extraction rate under the optimal process conditions is improved.

4 methods of lycopene extraction

The optimization CO2 extraction process of lycopene

The optimal extraction rate of lycopene was 90.21%, and the measured lycopene content was 3648.57 μg/g.

  • Extraction pressure: 350 bar;
  • Extraction Temperature: 46 ℃;
  • Separation pressure: 110 bar;
  • Separation temperature: 55℃;
  • Extraction time: 90 min.

In comprehensive considerations, the static extraction time of 90 min is more appropriate.