Mass Transfer and Equilibrium Parameters on High-Pressure CO2 Extraction of Plant Essential Oils

  • José M. del Valle
  • Juan C. de la Fuente
  • Edgar Uquiche
  • Carsten Zetzl
  • Gerd Brunner
Conference paper
Part of the Food Engineering Series book series (FSES)


Supercritical fluids (SCF) in general and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) in particular allow convenient and environmentally friendly extraction processes because of their liquid-like solvent properties and gas-like transport properties, that allow efficient and fast extraction processes, and complete elimination of solvent traces from extracts and treated substrates. High-pressure CO2 is an inexpensive gas that offers safe and selective supercritical fluids SCF extraction (SCFE) processes at near-environmental temperatures that can be use to recover high-value compounds in vegetable substrates.

This chapter reviews mass transfer and of phase equilibrium parameters that are required to design industrial SCFE processes for plant essential oils. Relevant mass transfer parameters include an external mass transfer coefficient and an effective diffusivity (D e), among others. Values of D e range from 102 to 105 times the binary diffusion of plant essential oils in CO2 which suggests pronounced limitations to mass transfer within the solid matrix during SCFE of plant essential oils. A relevant phase equilibrium parameter is the “operational” solubility of plant essential oils in high-pressure CO2, which depends markedly on system temperature and CO2 density, the amount of essential oils in the plant material, the interactions between the many constituents of the essential oils, and the interactions between the essential oil components and the solid matrix, all of which decrease solubility of the essential oil components as compared to their thermodynamic solubility in simple CO2-containing binary and ternary systems.


Mass Transfer Coefficient Axial Dispersion Secretory Cavity Internal Mass Transfer Axial Dispersion Coefficient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The present work was funded by the Chilean agency Fondecyt (Regular project 105–0675 and International Cooperation project 703–0033). We are indebted to Verónica Glatzel (PUC) for recalculating from the literature some of the values of external mass transfer coefficient (k f), and effective diffusivities (D e) that we report in Sect. 17.3.2 and 17.3.3, respectively; and to Gustavo Lozano (TUHH) for simulating the solubility isotherms for selected essential oil components included in Figs. 17.7 and 17.8 using the predictive methodology described in Sect. 17.4.1 in PE 2000.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • José M. del Valle
    • 1
  • Juan C. de la Fuente
    • 2
  • Edgar Uquiche
    • 3
  • Carsten Zetzl
    • 4
  • Gerd Brunner
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Química y BioprocesosPontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Departamento de Procesos Químicos, Biotecnológicos y AmbientalesUniversidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaValparaísoChile
  3. 3.Departamento de Ingeniería QuímicaUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  4. 4.Thermische VerfahrenstechnikTechnische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH)HarburgGermany

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