Botanical Extracts

Botanical ExtractsPlants used for traditional and herbal medicine contain a wide range of substances with beneficial biological activity such as antimicrobial, anticancer, analgesic and wound healing activity. Botanical extracts provide major opportunities for new drug discoveries because of their availability and chemical diversity.

Various methods of extraction are employed such as maceration, sonifaction and heating of plant material in water and/or organic solvent. Other extraction techniques include solid-phase micro-extraction, supercritical-fluid extraction (SFC), pressurized-liquid extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, and solid-phase extraction. Raw extracts usually comprise a combination of bioactive compounds, phytochemicals and contaminants such as plant sterols, waxes and fats and a number of isolation techniques are used to obtain pure compounds such as winterisation, Thin-layer, column, flash and Sephadex chromatography, and HPLC.

Extraction and fractionation can result in large numbers of samples requiring evaporation. For example two dimensional, preparative scale fractionation can yield up to 320 individual fractions per run. Genevac Series 3 HT evaporators with high capacity provide an ideal parallel drying solution.

For larger fraction volumes (eg. from SFC) and extractions Rocket Synergy centrifugal evaporators are capable of evaporating up to six 400ml flasks, or 18 ASE tubes, in parallel. SampleGenie and flip flop systems allow sample to be dried directly into vials for storage or analysis.

Interest in cannabis as a source of medicinal compounds as well as for recreational use has been stimulated by recent changes in legislation across the USA. Winterization is a key process in the refinement of cannabis extract to produce refined cannabis oil. Raw extract is heated with ethanol before freezing. The solidified elements, such as plant waxes, fats and chlorophyll, are then filtered out leaving the purified oil in solution. Subsequently the ethanol must be removed, the traditional method being rotary evaporation. Rocket Synergy evaporators with autostop, and Dri-Pure to prevent foaming, offer fast unattended evaporation of batch product. Higher volumes, up to many tens of litres, can be processed with the automatic feed system on the Rocket 4D Synergy and it is ideal for processing R&D samples rather than production.

Useful papers

Automating Solvent Removal from Winterised Cannabis Extract
Extraction of Active Molecules from Chinese Herbal Remedy Gymnema sylvestre
Evaluation of evaporative techniques in the extraction and preparation of Cannabis Oil
High Throughput Natural Product Discovery
Rapid Evaporation for Natural Product Extraction

Useful links

Rocket Synergy Evaporators
Series 3 HT Evaporators
SampleGenie

 Video - Comparison of a rotary evaporator and the Rocket Synergy evaporator, for the concentration of winterised cannabis extract

 

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