Supercritical CO2 extraction of artemisinin technology


Artemisinin is a compound extracted and isolated from Artemisia annua L., an annual herb of Artemisia in the composite family.

It was first isolated from Artemisia annua L. by Chinese scholars in the early 1970s. Artemisinin is the most effective drug for the treatment of cerebral malaria and chloroquine falciparum malaria in the world.

The combination therapy has become the first choice of malaria treatment recommended by the World Health Organization.

In addition to its antimalarial effect, artemisinin also has the effects of anti pregnancy, anti fibrosis, anti schistosomiasis, anti Toxoplasma, anti arrhythmia and tumor cytotoxicity, inhibiting scar fibroblasts, and anti herpes simplex virus.

It is used in modern clinical treatment of falciparum malaria, fever, schistosomiasis, oral mucosa lichen planus, lupus erythematosus and arrhythmia.

Artemisinin and its derivatives are new antimalarial drugs with high efficiency, high speed, low toxicity and safety.

Traditional extraction process

In the traditional process, artemisinin is completely extracted from plant Artemisia annua by using fat soluble organic solvent, and the extraction rate is nearly 100%.

At the same time, the fat soluble impurities such as organic wax, volatile oil, artemisinin a, artemisinin B and artemisinin C are also extracted. Then high purity artemisinin was prepared by gradient elution of silica gel column chromatography with different polar eluents.

Advantages of supercritical extraction of artemisinin

  1. Supercritical CO2 fluid extraction is used. The temperature of extraction is low and inert gas is used to protect artemisinin from oxidation and destruction.
  2. The combination of extraction and separation improves production efficiency and saves energy consumption.
  3. In the process of extraction, the organic solvent in the traditional method is dispensed with, and there is no residual organic solvent in the finished product, which keeps the whole nature of the extract.
  4. The whole process will not produce “three wastes” and will not cause pollution to the environment.

In conclusion

The effects of extraction pressure, temperature and time on the yield of artemisinin were investigated.

The results showed that the best extraction conditions were extraction pressure 20MPa, temperature 333k and extraction time 2H. The purity of artemisinin product was more than 95% after simple separation.

Supercritical CO2 extraction process has many advantages, such as high selectivity, especially suitable for extraction of heat sensitive substances, simple separation process, energy saving, non-toxic, tasteless, pollution-free and residue free solvent CO2, which is very safe.

The optimal parameters for the extraction of artemisinin from supercritical CO2 extraction equipment can be more than 95% pure:

Extraction pressure: 20 MPa

Extraction temperature: 333K

Extraction time: 2h