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Medicinal plants extraction in a vortex layer device

medicinal plants extraction

Despite the emergence of new synthetic agents, medicinal plants extraction remains an important area of the pharmaceutical industry.

Some serious diseases are really difficult to treat effectively without next-generation synthetic antibiotics, but herbal preparations remain an effective medication. According to rough estimates, the share of such preparations in the market is at least 25%.

Substances extracted from medicinal plants are used in the production of:

  • pills;
  • tinctures;
  • syrups;
  • oils;
  • dry extracts;
  • solutions;
  • liquid extracts;
  • hard capsules;
  • ointments;
  • suppositories;
  • thick extracts, etc.

Medicinal plants extraction — main difficulties

Medicinal plants extraction is based on mass exchanging processes and occurs due to diffusion from the zones with a higher concentration of substance. Biologically active substances are transferred from the internal structure of plant material particles into the extractant, and the transfer is completed when the concentrations are balanced. In this case, the number of molecules transferred from the plant raw materials to the extractant is the same as that from the extractant to the plant raw materials. Thus, the priority task is to process plant raw materials for creating the most favorable conditions for efficient extraction.

One of the main problems in medicinal plants extraction is the low yield of biologically active substances which leads to overconsumption of medicinal raw materials. There are two ways to solve the problem:

  • searching for new, more effective extractants;
  • applying more efficient technologies for raw materials grinding and plant cell membranes destruction.

In this article, we will speak about the second area.

Methods for intensifying the medicinal plants extraction

The medicinal plants extraction process can be intensified by:

  • increasing the diffusion surface;
  • changing the concentration near the surface of plant raw materials;
  • changing the duration of contact between the raw materials and the extractant;
  • raising the temperature;
  • reducing the particle size of medicinal raw materials (increasing the specific surface of particles);
  • decreasing the medium viscosity.

The extraction as such can be carried out by means of ultrasound, flow turbulization and pulsation, low-frequency vibrations, electric pulse and magnetic pulse effects, high-frequency electromagnetic field effect, and electroplasmolysis. Each of the listed approaches produces a result, but it can be improved if combined influence of various physical factors and chemical processes on plant raw materials is applied. This possibility exists in one device — a ferromagnetic particles vortex layer device (AVS).

Features of processes in the operating chambler of a vortex layer device

A vortex layer device consists of a rotating electromagnetic field inductor, an operating chamber made of non-magnetic material, and ferromagnetic particles (needles). When voltage is applied to the inductor winding, the ferromagnetic particles begin to move in the operating chamber colliding with the operating chamber walls, with one another, and with particles of processed substance all the time. The motion trajectory of each particle is constantly changing and complex.

Furthermore, various processes occur in the operating chamber and have a favorable effect on the extraction of biologically active substances from medicinal plants. These processes include:

  • rotating electromagnetic field;
  • magnetostriction — a change in the volume and linear dimensions of ferromagnetic particles due to a change in their magnetization;
  • acoustic phenomena due to vibrations of ferromagnetic particles;
  • direct effect of ferromagnetic particles on plant raw materials;
  • cavitation (when processing in an aqueous medium);
  • electrolysis, etc.

The comprehensive effect of the said factors and phenomena leads to intensive dispersion, mixing and, subsequently, extraction of biologically active substances into the extractant.

Expected results of applying vortex layer devices for medicinal plant extraction

Applying a vortex layer device for extraction of biologically active substances from rosehip berries proved its prospects. Rosehip berries were processed in the operating chamber of the vortex layer device for 60–180 seconds. It was found that the most active extraction of biologically active substances was achieved after one hour of infusion in contrast to other processing methods after which the raw materials could be infused for 18–20 hours. At the same time, the amount of extracted biologically active substances increased by 50%.

Advantages of vortex layer devices

Applying vortex layer devices for medicinal plants extraction has the following advantages:

  • saving on plant raw materials by increasing the yield of biologically active substances;
  • processes can take place in water or solvent without additional heating. Extraction efficiency is achieved by complete disintegration of plant cells to the micron level (less than 1 micron);
  • the duration of infusion reduced tenfold;
  • reducing the cost of obtained product due to the low energy consumption of the vortex layer device (depending on the model, the power consumption by one device is 4.5–9.5 kW).

The device intrinsically has compact dimensions and is easily integrated into the existing technological lines for medicinal plant extraction instead of mechanical mixers, dispersers, cavitators, ultrasonic generators, disintegrators, etc. A vortex layer device is able to substitute for all of the above-listed devices and is equally efficient in carrying out the grinding, mixing, plant cells disintegration, extraction, and intensification processes.

GlobeCore produces AVS-100 and AVS-150 vortex layer devices for medicinal plants extraction. For further information, please use some of the contact details that you can find in the appropriate section of our website.