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Supercritical CO2 Extraction of Propolis Active Ingredients

Propolis is a resin-like substance produced by bees for use in their hives. It contains various bio-active compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and terpenes, making it a popular natural ingredient in many health and wellness products. The traditional methods of extracting active ingredients from propolis are time-consuming and often lead to loss of desired compounds. Supercritical CO2 extraction has emerged as a highly efficient and effective alternative for extracting propolis bio-active compounds while maintaining the desired product quality.

Supercritical CO2 extraction is a process that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) at high pressure and low temperature to extract desired compounds from propolis. Carbon dioxide exists naturally in the atmosphere in the form of a gas, but it can be transformed into a supercritical fluid by applying a combination of high pressure and low temperature. At this state, CO2 can permeate through various materials like plastics, rubbers, and many organic compounds, making it an ideal solvent for bio-active compounds extraction from propolis.

There are several advantages of using supercritical CO2 extraction for propolis active ingredients, as it is a non-toxic, non-flammable, and environmentally friendly method. It produces high purity extracts with a very low content of impurities, such as heavy metals and residual solvents, which can be harmful and reduce the quality of the final product. Additionally, this extraction method offers precise control over the extraction parameters, which makes it possible to obtain specific propolis compounds based on their properties like polarity, molecular weight, and boiling point.

Propolis is a natural substance produced by bees that contains various bio-active compounds with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Supercritical CO2 extraction is becoming a popular method for extracting bio-active compounds from propolis due to its efficiency and preservation of active ingredients. In this article, we will discuss the process and optimal parameters for supercritical CO2 extraction of propolis active ingredients.

CO2 Extraction Process for Propolis Active Ingredients

Supercritical CO2 extraction releases bio-active compounds from propolis using carbon dioxide (CO2) at high pressure and low temperature. The extracted bio-active compounds are rich in phenolic acids, flavonoids and terpenoids. The extraction process takes place in a pressure vessel that increases or decreases the pressure and temperature, depending on the extraction parameters.

The following table shows the optimal process parameters for supercritical CO2 extraction of propolis active ingredients:

Process ParameterValue
Pressure250-350 bar
CO2 Flow Rate20-30 kg/h
Extraction Time2-4 hours

To optimize the extraction yield and quality of the resulting propolis active ingredients, the temperature should be between 40-60°C, and the pressure range should be between 250-350 bar. CO2 flow rate should be carefully set between 20-30 kg/h, and the extraction duration should be between 2-4 hours. These parameters will help achieve a yield between 2-10%.

The resulting CO2 extract is a viscous material that contains high concentrations of bio-active compounds. The extract can be processed further to remove any impurities and obtain purified extracts of propolis bio-active compounds that meet specific industrial or commercial demands. Purification techniques may include solvent extraction, fractionation, or distillation.


Supercritical CO2 extraction is a highly efficient method for extracting bio-active compounds from propolis. It offers several advantages, including high yields, preservation of active ingredients, and customization of the extraction parameters. The optimal extraction parameters, including temperature, pressure, CO2 flow rate, extraction time and yield, depend on the type of active ingredients and the characteristics of the propolis. The resulting CO2 extract is a viscous material that requires further processing to obtain high-purity propolis bio-active compounds. As industries continue to seek natural, organic ingredients for their products, supercritical CO2 extraction of propolis active ingredients will remain an important area of research and development.