Solvent-free Microwave Extraction as the Useful Tool for Extraction of Edible Essential Oils

Heri Kusuma, Ditta Putri, Intan Dewi and Mahfud Mahfud
Department of Chemical Engineering, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, 60111, Surabaya, Indonesia;;
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Solvent-free microwave extraction (SFME) is proposed as a method for “green” extraction of edible essential oils extensively used in the fragrance, flavour, and pharmaceutical industries and also in aromatherapy. It is a combination of microwave heating and dry distillation, performed at atmospheric pressure without adding any solvent or water. Isolation and concentration of volatile compounds are performed by a single stage. Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) was extracted with SFME at atmospheric pressure and 373 K for 30 min. The extracted compounds were removed from the aqueous extract by simple decantation, identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Hydrodistillation (HD) of basil was performed with 400 ml of water for 4.5 h for comparison of the results with those provided by the proposed method. SFME method offers important advantages over HD, viz. shorter extraction times (30 min vs. 4.5 h); better yields (0.13 % vs. 0.11 %); environmental impact (energy cost is appreciably higher for performing HD than that required for rapid SFME), cleaner features (as no residue generation and no water or solvent used); and provides a more valuable essential oil. SFME is a green technology and appears as a good alternative for the extraction of edible essential oils from aromatic plants used in aromatherapy and food industry.

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