Fractionation of squalene from amaranth seed oil
Amaranth seed oil was fractionated in a bench-scale short-path distillation unit to obtain fractions rich in squalene. Fractionations were conducted with degummed amaranth oil, alkali-refined amaranth oil, and simulated amaranth oil. Squalene concentration was increased about sevenfold with a squalene recovery of 76.0% in the distillate when degummed amaranth oil was fractionated at 180°C and 3 mtorr vacuum. Free fatty acids codistilled with squalene, lowering the squalene content of the distillate, and resulted in a semisolid distillate at room temperature. Alkali-refining was subsequently used to reduce the free fatty acid content before fractionation. A simulated oil (7% squalene/93% soybean oil) and alkali-refined amaranth oil were fractionated at three temperatures (160, 170, and 180°C) and five vacuum settings (10, 100, 200, 400, and 600 mtorr). The highest squalene recoveries from simulated oil and alkali-refined amaranth oil were 73.4 and 67.8%, respectively, both at 180°C and 100 mtorr, which translates to 12.1-and 9.2-fold increases in squalene concentration, respectively. The squalene recovery of the alkali-refined amaranth oil at 180°C was not significantly different at 10 mtorr vs. 100 mtorr. The results of this study can be used as a component to assess the economic feasibility of fractionating amaranth seed for starch, oil, meal, and squalene.
Key wordsAlkali-refining amaranth oil distillation fractionation short-path distillation squalene squalene content squalene recovery
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