TexRay SA is launching a ground-breaking solution for the extraction of active ingredients in the South African market. The company is introducing its supercritical fluid technology for the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and functional food industries at Propak Africa 2016. The show is running until 18 March at the Expo Centre, Nasrec in Johannesburg.
Supercritical fluid technology is said to offer a more sustainable and efficient alternative to extracting ingredients from raw materials than traditional extraction methods. In this process, carbon dioxide is transformed from a gas to a supercritical fluid medium. This fluid is then used as a solvent to extract non-polarised active ingredients from materials such as herbs, plants and flowers.
According to John Chen, a sales representative of TexRay SA, the essential oils and other ingredients obtained from raw materials in this way are more pure than what is achievable with conventional extraction methods. While the technology is not new, it is the first time that the local market is being exposed to the process. ‘The advantage of using this technology is that materials are processed at low temperatures, preserving the health benefits of the ingredients.’
The equipment is produced by Taiwan Supercritical Technology and available from TexRay SA in the form of laboratory-scale and manufacturing units. Various local research facilities and universities are already using the laboratory-scale machines.
The manufacturing machines are aimed at companies in the cosmetics and functional food industries. A number of pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food and beverage producers are importing the new technology. TexRay SA also distributes solutions for ultrasonic extraction, which produces polarised, water-soluble ingredients.
‘Our extraction technologies hold major benefits for South Africa. The country is rich in raw materials and biodiversity. The equipment enables the processing of raw materials into high-quality ingredients and very pure oils on home soil, reducing the nation’s dependence on imports,’ adds Chen. As the extraction process is also environmentally friendly, extracted products meet the sustainability requirements of overseas companies, and can therefore be exported.
Phyllis Liu, sales supervisor at Taiwan Supercritical Technology, comments: ‘Both supercritical fluid and ultrasonic extraction technologies are “greener” extraction processes. Neither use solvent during extraction, which results in a more pure product with a higher ingredient achievement, higher anti-oxidation level and better extraction rate. Final products include Astaxanthin, flavonoids, triterpenoids, natural flavours, polysaccharides and protein.’
She notes that the extraction technologies are aimed at increasing the value of extracted products. ‘TexRay SA’s president, Ray Lin is dedicated to this cause and is committed to successfully implementing these new technologies in South Africa.’
Going forward, the company hopes to educate the local market about supercritical fluid technology. The next step is to introduce the solution to the South African textile industry. In this sector supercritical dyeing technology offers significant water and solvent use savings during the dyeing process. One of the main benefits of supercritical dyeing is that it eliminates the need to use water to dye fabric. This is an important factor to consider in South Africa, which is currently facing drought.