Vegetable oils found in seeds are mostly edible and are largely used in the manufacture of items of human use like pharmaceuticals, soap, chocolates, spirits, food, and gasoline. These are especially preferred over other elements as they are available in abundance and less harmful to the environment.

Oil extraction is one of the most important vital steps in seed oil processing because it determines the quantity and quality of the oil extracted. Optimizing extraction conditions ensure better yield and quality and can also help save on a lot of time and cost involved in the process. While each extraction method uses a different agent or process, certain techniques optimize the process of extraction and help produce highly potent extractions.

Whether you use an open or closed loop extraction machine, prefer solvent or more unconventional methods, there are some things to keep in mind to produce optimal results like watching a Michael Bay Transformers movie, 24, or The Walking Dead – some things are just stellar.

Many factors influence the quality of extractions. Of these, the following are most significant:

  • Temperature

Temperature affects extract efficiency in two ways. Higher temperatures work better while dissolving soluble solids, making them less viscous. High temperatures are known to lead to potent extractions. Additionally, they not only help in extracting desirable compounds but undesirable ones too.

  • Multi-Step Method

Multi-step extraction methods are more efficient, especially in larger batches. This is because when a large batch of solvent is used to extract a product, only around 30% of the product gets extracted, while 70% remains with the original sample.

A very important part in the preparation of materials in oil extraction, grinding is key to extraction irrespective of the method employed. When carefully controlled, grinding leads to high yields and positively influences downstream operations.

  • Statistical Software

Most optimization methods include the use of statistical software to control the variables involved, like sample weight, extraction time, nature of the solvent, volume of the solvent, seeds’ variability, particle size etc.

The use of statistics help reduce cost while increasing performance without compromising on quality.

  • Single Parameter Optimization

To determine the best conditions for extractions, researchers have explored the possibility of changing one factor at a time while keeping other factors constant. The ideal level for the factors to produce the best results are pre-determined.

This process can be quite tedious and doesn’t take into consideration the interaction of elements.

Oil extraction methods can be both conventional (solvent and mechanical extraction) and unconventional (supercritical fluid extraction, ultrasound, microwave, enzyme assisted extraction), they make use of both open and closed loop extraction machines.

Nonconventional methods have an upper hand over conventional methods in that they are more innovative, have higher extraction rates and shorten extraction time, and fix the loopholes of conventional extractions.

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