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Plant extract enter the oversea market,single pot extraction model will be a hinder

        [China Pharmaceutical Network Editor's Point of View] Plant extract refers to a product formed by the application of modern extraction and separation technology to the targeted acquisition and concentration of one or more ingredients from raw materials such as fruits, dual-use plants, and Chinese herbal medicine. These products are widely used in pharmaceutical raw materials, health products, cosmetics, food additives and other fields. Plant extraction, as a deep-processed product of Chinese medicinal materials, basically has the characteristics of raw materials and traditional Chinese medicines, coupled with the advantages of easy quality control, material transportation, and application, and is easy to be accepted by the international market.

        China is a big exporter of plant extracts. It is understood that 80% of plant extracts in the market are for export, but because of the processing of extracts, quality and quality, etc., they do not have the right to speak international prices. Authoritative data show that since the first quarter of 2017, the export value of plant extracts in China has reached more than 300 million U.S. dollars, and its growth has driven the total export volume of Chinese medicines to rise.

        It is worth mentioning that China's plant extraction industry is developing rapidly. Its concept and content are not limited to the use of traditional Chinese medicinal materials as raw materials. The current plant extract industry has formed a Chinese medicine extract as the core, which contains useful information from around the world. The modern industry of plant extracts serves human health and produces good economic benefits. However, due to the complex chemical composition of traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Chinese medicine has complicated extraction and separation processes, low separation efficiency, high cost, serious environmental pollution, and high labor intensity in the traditional production process. Therefore, the development of new processing and extraction equipment is imminent.

        The author understands that there are several mainstream equipments for extraction of traditional Chinese medicine, such as dipping tanks, multi-functional extraction tanks, dynamic extraction tanks and thermal reflux extraction concentration units. The equipment structure and operation methods are basically the same as those of single tank equipment for oil extraction. The author understands that with the development of extraction technology, in recent years, there have been introduced supercritical fluid extraction, ultrasonic enhanced extraction, microwave extraction and other process equipment.


        Introduction of industry experts, the advantages of carbon dioxide supercritical extraction are strong selectivity and high purity of the extract, which is suitable for extracting lipophilic substances with known chemical structure and small molecular weight from solid materials. Disadvantages are high operating pressure, high energy consumption, and high manufacturing costs when the equipment is enlarged. It is not suitable to extract mixtures of unknown composition and substances with low solubility in carbon dioxide.


        Ultrasonic enhanced extraction can use the energy of ultrasonic vibration to strengthen the diffusion process, so that the solvent is easily immersed in the solid, and the solid solute is easily diffused from the solid to the solid-liquid interface, thereby accelerating the extraction process. However, due to the limitation of ultrasonic power, the economics of large-scale production is not good, and the safety of high-power ultrasonics has yet to be verified.


        The author understands that the ultrasonic extraction equipment developed by Ningbo Huazi Pharmaceutical Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and various animals and plants for its unique advantages of low extraction temperature, high extraction rate, and short extraction time. Extraction of effective content is a modern high-tech method that replaces traditional shearing methods to achieve efficient, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly extraction.


        Microwave extraction is to use the effect of microwave on polar molecules to heat solvents and medicinal materials to rupture the cell wall and achieve the purpose of accelerated extraction. But microwave extraction is also limited by the power of microwave generation, and there are some engineering problems when scaling up the production scale.


        The above-mentioned process equipments are single-tank, intermittent extraction equipment. The overall advantage is that the production arrangements are flexible, suitable for small batches of multiple varieties of plants, and small investment in small-scale production. The disadvantage is that the overall efficiency is low and the production cost is high. Some newly developed extraction processes have technical problems when they are scaled up. Therefore, they need to be further upgraded in the future to jump out of the single-tank extraction mode.


        As the export volume of plant extracts in China has increased year after year, the United States and other countries have paid more attention to plant extracts, and their quality supervision has become increasingly strict. It is understood that high-efficiency, energy-saving, and green become the future trends of the extraction equipment industry. When China's extraction equipment manufacturers welcome a broad market, they also need to seize these three "future keys" to solve new process problems and create a suitable industry. The required extraction equipment helps plant extracts to go abroad.


        (Source: China Pharmaceutical Network)(Source: China pharmaceutical network)

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