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Organic Agricultural Sciences UNIKASSEL Department of Agricultural Engineering

Distillation technology of essential oil crops

Dipl.-Ing. Dipl. Ing. Kai


1 Introduction definition and market information 1.1 Botany and physiology of essential oil crops 1 2 Chemistry and quality of essential oils 1.2 1.3 Main uses of essential oils 2 Production of essential oils distillation technology

3 Example: Helichrysum italicum project Corsica island

1 Introduction

Natural essential oils are obtained straight from the plant and are not t modified difi d physically h i ll or chemically h i ll afterwards. ft d artificial tifi i l oils il > enriching i hi with ith one or several l of f it its components synthetic oils > produced by combining chemically synthesised components

Essential oils are: volatile constituents of plant material responsible for the characteristic odour of the plant material mixtures i t of f chemical h i l entities titi of f a variety i t of f chemical h i lt types generally ll complex l i in composition iti

Some two hundred essential oils are p produced and traded internationally y Volumes range from 20-30,000 tonnes to less than 100 kg Prices vary widely but for the majority of oils fall within the range of US$4 US$4-$60/kg $60/kg for specialist minor oils the price can be many 1000 of US$/kg Estimating E ti ti world ld production d ti and dt trade d of f essential ti l oils il i is f fraught ht with ith difficulties The European Th E Union U i is i the th worlds ld bi biggest ti importer t of f essential ti l oils il (with France, Germany and UK being the major importing countries) The USA is Th i the th worlds ld largest l t importing i ti country t of f essential ti l oils il followed by Japan

Source: ISO/TC 54 Business plan (2004)

The trade distribution for essential oils and oleoresins have a number of routes to market.

Source: Herbs, spices and essential oils Post-harvest operations in developing countries. UNIDO and FAO (2005)

1.1 Sources of natural essential oils botany y and p physiology y gy of essential oil crops p

Essential oils are widely distributed over plant families Some 4,000 plant species contain essential oils Only a few hundred of them have sufficient concentrations to allow extraction of essential oils Quantity of essential oil varies

The primary products harvested for spice or essential oil production can be divided into categories

Plant organs containing natural essential oils are illustrated in Figure 3.

Source: Extraction Technologies for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants . CS-UNIDO (2008)

Synthesis & accumulation of essential oils are generally associated with the presence of specialized histological str ct res depending upon structures pon the plant family

Specialized plant structures that produce and store essential oils are shown in Figure 4

Source: Extraction Technologies for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants . CS-UNIDO (2008)

Function of the essential oils for the plant:

Attracting (help polination) or repelling insects A antibacterial As tib t i l agents t Comunication

1 2 Ch 1.2 Chemical i l properties ti and d quality lit of f essential ti l oils il

An essential oil can contain dozens or even hundreds of components > particular taste or fragrance A gas chromatography laboratory test is needed to determine the percentage of each constituent

Essential oils are highly complex chemical compounds p > consist of >

Source: Extraction Technologies for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants . CS-UNIDO (2008)

Physical properties of essential oils: Volatile and liquid at room temperature Less dense than water (with exceptions) refractory index soluble in alcohol, fat oils, organic solvents, high grade alcohol li lipo-soluble l bl and d not t very soluble l bl i in water t

Variability factors of essential oils compounds:

Occurrence of chemotypes I fl Influence of f the th vegetative t ti cycle l Influence of environmental factors I fl Influence of f preparation ti method th d

Chemotype = variation in chemical composition of an essential oil of the same species Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has 6 different chemo-types depending on which is the main component

timol, carvacrol, linalool, geraniol, tuyanol -4, 4, or terpineol

Named using the name of the species followed by the main i component t of f its it chemotype. h t Thymus vulgaris linalool, linalool Thymus vulgaris timol. timol

Composition p of essential oils depends/varies p from:

plant genetics on place of origin growing conditions cultivation practices moment t of f harvesting h ti extraction methods time of day temperature humidity duration of daylight y g radiation fertilization watering regiment amount of sun type of soil ...

1 3 Main uses of essential oils 1.3

Essential oils find a use in a variety of industries Essential oils are used in a wide variety of consumer goods d spices (essential oil plants) have been added to foodstuffs not just for flavouring but to help preserve them
Pharmacy Perfumery Food technology Starting materials to synthesize other compounds Antiseptic Preservative Aromatherapy

S Source: H Herbs, b spices i and d essential ti l oils il P Post-harvest th t operations in developing countries. UNIDO and FAO (2005)

2 Production of essential oils distillation technology

Historically, Hi t i ll th the fi first t record d of f di distillation till ti t took k place l i in th the lndus Valley in what is now known as Pakistan around 5000 years ago (ca (ca. 3000 B B.C.) C)

Distillation Fundamentals: > an excellent discussion of these are given in a recent publication of Denny (1991)

Interrelationships p between the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, Latent Heat and Vapor Pressure The laws Th l th that td describe ib th the b behavior h i of f id ideal l gases can b be used dt to approximately describe the behavior of vapors.

Production technology is an essential element to improve the overall yield and quality of essential oil There are five main methods of extraction: Expression Hydro- or water-distillation. Water W t and d steam t distillation di till ti Steam distillation Solvent extraction

1. 2. 3. 4. 5 5.

The extraction of essential oils from plant material can y a number of different methods be achieved by

Source: Extraction Technologies for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants . CS-UNIDO (2008)

Steam distillation in a still is the most common extraction method The aromatic p parts of the p plant are p placed in a still through g which steam is passed A Aromatic ti cells ll releasing l i th the molecules l l of f essential ti l oils il The blend of steam and oil then passes through a condenser From the condenser distillate flows into a separator where oil separates t automatically t ti ll from f the th distillate di till t water t

Hydrodistillation H d di till ti of f plant l t material t i l involves i l the th following main physicochemical processes:

Hydrodiffusion: Diffusion of essential oils and hot water through plant membranes Hydrolysis in the present context is defined as a chemical reaction between water and certain constituents of essential oils. Decomposition p by y heat: Almost all constituents of essential oils are unstable at high temperature.

Items of a distillation assembly

Site choise Th still The till b body d The energy source Th condensing The d i sytem t (h (heat t exchanger) h ) The oil seperator (florentine vessel) Labour saving devices Purification and storage requirements

There are three types of hydrodistillation for isolating essential oils from plant materials: 1. Water distillation 1 2. Water and steam distillation 3 Direct steam distillation 3.

Source: Herbs, spices and essential oils Post-harvest operations in developing countries. UNIDO and FAO (2005)

S Source: H Herbs, b spices i and d essential ti l oils il P Post-harvest th t operations in developing countries. UNIDO and FAO (2005)

S Source: H Herbs, b spices i and d essential ti l oils il P Post-harvest th t operations in developing countries. UNIDO and FAO (2005)

The final quantity and quality of the product depend on careful f l monitoring i i the temperature and pressure inside the still and to an even g greater extent on the q quality y of the p plants used, which must be picked at the right moment.

3. Example: Helichrysum 3 italicum p project j on Corse

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 00 0 0 00 0 0


Located L d on the h mediterranean di i island l d of fC Corsica, i the h "Bordeo farm is specialised in cultivation, distillation and extraction of aromaaroma and medicinal plants. The aromatic p plants are either g grown on the farm and therefor organic certified with the label "Demeter" (Lemon verbena, Laurel, Rosmary, Hamamelis, Rose, Clementine and Lemon leaves, leaves Eucalyptus) Eucalyptus), or, or y are collected in the wild and certified organic g by y they Ecocert (Italian Everlasting, Fragrant Aster, Myrtle, Corsican Pine,).

The genus Helichrysum (family Asteraceae) from the tribe Inuleae comprises more than 400 species widespread p throughout g the world. Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don, a typically Mediterranean species, is an aromatic shrub (50-70 cm high) with yellow flowers (blossoming time, May-June) growing on dry cliffs and sandy soil.

The cultivation of Helicrysum italicum, known as Immortelle, was developed since 2004 in Corsica by E Essences N Naturelles t ll C Corses i in partnership t hi with ith LOccitane en Provence. The technical support was provided by Civam Bio Corse (regional organic farming organism) and PAM' PAM INNOV (aromatic plant expert). This work made it possible to define a mechanized way of cultivation in conformity y with the conditions of European organic farming.

P i i l of Principle f the h contracts of f cultivation: li i

The objective of these contracts is to guarantee to the whole of the signatories a durable cooperation over at least 5 years of production. Price stability and security of the market. Guarantee of the Corsica origin of the plant and specific quality of essential oil. Respect of the environment and safeguarding of natural spaces.

H. italicum oil is widely used in perfume industry and H aromatherapy for their flavouring properties and biological activities (anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti oxidant) anti-oxidant). The e esse essential ta o oils so of t three ee H. italicum ta cu subspec subspecies es have a e been studied: subsp. serotinum, subsp. microphyllum and subsp. italicum. The essential oil of H. italicum has an economic importance in Mediterranean areas particularly for C i I Corsica Island, l d d due t to hi high h amount t of f neryl l acetate. t t The chemical composition of H. H italicum essential oil showed chemical variability among geographic origins.

Bianchini et al. Flavour Fragrance Journal, 2001, 16, 30-34

Divers chmotypes identifis:

Corse-Sardaigne: actate de nryle, nrol, linalol, -curcumne Italie: -pinne, -pinne (E)--caryophyllne, -caryophyllne - and -slinne Croatie: -pinne, -curcumne, -slinne, France continentale: -pinne, pinne 1 1,8-cinole, 8 cinole terpinn terpinn-4-ol, 4 ol -dictones dictones Grce: graniol, actate de granyle, (E)-nrolidol

Composition of Helichrysum italicum subsp. italicum essential oil showed chemical variability according to vegetation cycle, environment and geographic origins. Moreover, the M th chemical h i l polymorphism l hi of f thi this species i i is outstanding and its relation with both genetics and environmental factors is not yet well defined. Investigations on the characterisation of H. italicum oil observed two chemical compositions (high amount of bb di-ketones or high amount of neryl acetate) according to the vegetation cycle. These two chemical compositions appeared also to be p on the sampling p g locations. dependent


P / Floraison PrFl i

D Dormance

actate de nryle limonne -curcumne ctones -dictones insatures -dictones satures

20 - 43%
0,1 - 3%

16 - 32%

0,1 - 9%
2 - 3%

7 - 8%
2 - 3%

12 - 15%
1 2%

3 7%
4 - 10%

14 - 18%

Bianchini et al. Flavour Fragrance Journal, 2001, 16, 30-34

Some studies have been also reported the influence of soil characteristics on the y yield and composition p of essentials oils from various aromatic plants. Hence, the question is no longer whether soils Hence characteristics, vegetation cycles or inorganic plant composition influence essential oil composition but to q antif the relative quantify relati e contribution contrib tion of each of these factors. factors


Bedi, S.& Tanuja & Vyas, S. P. (2008): A Handbook of aromatic an essential oil plants Cultivation, chemistry, processing an uses. Agrobios, Jodhpur. Bianchini, A. & Tomi, P. & Costa, J. & Bernardini, A. F. (2001): Composition of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) ( )G G. Don fil. f subsp. italicum essential oils from f Corsica C (France). Flavour and fragrance journal 2001, vol. 16, no1, pp. 30-34 (36 ref.) Denny, E. F. K. (1991): Field Distillation for Herbaceous Oils. Denny McKenzie Associates, Lilydale, Tasmania 2. Auflage. Drbeck, K.& Wijesekera, R. O. B.& Ratnatunga, C. M. (1997): The distillation of essential oils. Manufacturing and plants construction handbook. Protrade, Deutsche Gesellschaft fr technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH. Gildemeister, E., Hoffmann, Fr. (1956): Die therischen le Band 1, 4. Auflage, [H ] Wilh [Hrsg] Wilhelm l Treibs. T ib Akademie Ak d i V Verlag, l B Berlin. li Hsn Can Baser, K.& Demirci, F.:(2006): Chemistry of essential oils. In: Berger, R.G. [Hrsg.]: Flavours and fragrances, Seite 43-83. Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. Oyen, L. P. A. & Dung N. X. (1999): Essential oil plants Plant resources of south east asia. PROSEA, Backhuys, Leiden. ztekin, S.& Martinov, M. & Mller (2007): Medicinal and aromatic crops Harvesting, drying and processing. Haworth Press Inc., Binghamtion, New York.

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