SEPARATION PROCESSES AND IMPREGNATION AT HIGH PRESSURE
This line of research is divided into two large blocks:
EXTRACTION AND PURIFICATION OF COMPOUNDS FROM AGRO-FOOD RAW MATERIALS
The greatest advantage of the extraction by means of supercritical fluids is their lower impact on the environment and superior quality of the products. It is a clean technology because the not toxic waste is produced.
It is possible to quickly eliminate the excess of supercritical CO2 by simple depressurization, collecting high concentrations of the compounds of interest. If the products to be extracted are polar, it is usual to combine CO2 with small proportions of polar solvents such as water or ethanol.
This technology complies with the regulations, does not use polluting solvents and can cover the growing demand of natural products by the consumer.
These extraction techniques are very effective in the field of natural products with direct applications in the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, waste disposal, etc.
The research group has successfully applied supercritical technology to the extraction of oils (argan, borage, soy, grape seed, wheat germ …), bioactive products (sunflower leaf, olive leaf, mango leaf…) and dyes (microalgae , red grape skin, potato skin …).
IMPREGNATION OF ACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN DIFFERENT MATRICES
Currently the group is focused on the study of supercritical impregnation of active substances in different polymers in order to increase their active properties. The processes of supercritical impregnation of plastic films with natural extracts have been analyzed for the preservation of fresh foods, and the supercritical impregnation of pharmacoactive stents is currently being studied.
This technique has many advantages: the complete recovery of supercritical CO2 and the solute not used when impregnated; the selective control of the impregnation, by modulating the solvent power of the supercritical carbon dioxide.