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This study examines subcritical water extraction (SCWE) of caffeine from black tea leaf. The effects of various operating conditions such as water temperature (100, 125, 150 and 175C), water flow rate (1, 2 and 4 g/min), mean particle size (0.5, 1 and 2 mm) on extraction yield and rate were determined. SCWE at 175C, water flow rate of 2 g/min and mean particle size of 0.5 mm were found to be able to recover 3.82% (w/w) of caffeine present in the black tea leaf within 3 h of extraction. In comparison to the SCWE, conventional hot water extraction showed 3.30% (w/w) extraction yield. It was found also that pressure had no effect on extraction yield and rate. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Recently, subcritical water has become of great interest as an alternative solvent for extraction of natural active compounds. Subcritical water, as a green solvent, can be used in many different fields of applications. In recent years, extraction of flavors, fragrances and antioxidant components from plant materials, and hydrolysis of carbohydrates, vegetable oils and fatty acids have been widely investigated by many researchers. Using subcritical water for analytical purposes, for soil remediation and applying it as a reaction media are some other interesting fields for practical applications. Subcritical water is an excellent solvent for caffeine as well as many other organic compounds but is safer than the organic solvents that are used for caffeine extraction.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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