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MANUFACTURING COST OF SUPERCRITICAL-EXTRACTED OILS AND CAROTENOIDS FROM AMAZONIAN PLANTS

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ABSTRACT

The objective of this work was to study the economical viability of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) of oil and carotenoids from three Amazonian palm trees: buriti, pupunha and pressed palm fiber (PPF). Literature experimental SFE data were used to estimate the cost of manufacturing (COM) of oils and carotenoids present in the crops, considering five main costs: fixed cost of investment, operational labor, utilities, waste treatment and raw material. SFE at 40C/300 bar, 50C/250 bar and 45C/300 bar presented the lowest COM for buriti, pupunha and PPF oils, respectively. The time of extraction determined the concentration of carotenoids in the oils. Under the conditions studied, the prices of SFE oils were higher than the selling prices of pressed oils, not because of the investment cost, but because of the raw material cost. Nevertheless, it is known that SFE oils are generally richer in carotenoids, which should determine higher selling prices and special uses for the product. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Oils extracted from the pulp and shell of Mauritia flexuosa (buriti) and Guilielma speciosa (pupunha) and from the pressed fiber of Elaes guineensis (palm oil), all of which are Amazonian palm fruits, are rich in carotenoids. Recent studies have shown that supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) may be economically viable to obtain vegetable extracts. However, it is important to study the economical viability of this technology, because the investment costsare usually pointed as the main reason why there are still no SFE industrial plants in Latin America. Studies showing SFE viability and each cost impact for Amazonian plants may be decisive in order to influence South American companies to invest in this green technology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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