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When Pesticide Residue Is The Pest

The demands placed on modern agriculture would be impossible to meet without the use of pesticides—they ensure high yields at consistent quality levels, maintain the integrity of the nutrition chain, and ensure the supply of important herbaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

Legislators, quite sensibly, require that products destined for human consumption be absolutely free of pesticide residues. This sets the bar very high in terms of staying below critical thresholds—and we see it as our mission to meet or even exceed these standards. At the same time, we want to maintain the quality of the feedstock and thus maintain the value chain.

We achieve this by utilizing the unique properties of all natural liquid carbon dioxide—they enable us to extract pesticides and other substances used for treating plants under the gentlest conditions and with utmost selectivity. By excluding oxygen, for instance, we can prevent oxidative changes. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is inert, so it won’t react with plant ingredients. This means the plant’s active ingredient content remains unchanged, precluding any change in functionality of the raw material being treated. With supercritical CO2, impurities and other undesired components can thus be kept under regulatory thresholds, and in some cases even below analytical discrimination levels.

The CO2 cleaning process is particularly well suited for valuable raw materials that either difficult, time-consuming, or expensive to treat for residue. These include plant pharmaceuticals for phytotherapy but also source material for nutraceuticals and intermediates. Industrial manufacturing processes can also lead to process related off-flavor components or other defects that eventually make the end product unusable.

Here, too, CO2 extraction can help restore the usability of these products—thanks to its inherent capability of the process to selectively extract these off-flavor components. Vegetable or animal oils, for instance, can be effectively purified to ensure customer acceptance.

The advantages of cleaning natural substances using supercritical fluid extraction with carbon dioxide:

  • Maintains active ingredient content and functionality

  • No oxidative changes

  • Exceeds residue level standards – even to below analytical discrimination thresholds

  • Maintains process value chain

  • No solvent residue, thus no process-related solvent residue that could lead to restrictions

  • Allows for removal off-flavor components

  • Maintains, restores product marketability

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