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How is camelina oil produced?

Camelina is a plant whose oil is highly valued by the food and biofuel industries, and particularly in cosmetics. But how is it produced? Let's explore together the existing extraction processes of camelina oil.

Summary
Published January 29, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

By what processes is camelina oil obtained?

Originating from Europe and Central Asia, the camelina, known by its current Latin name Camelina sativa, is a long-cultivated oilseed plant. It is distinguished by a straight stem that can reach up to a metre in height and the presence of yellow flowers, but it is the camelina seeds that are used to produce vegetable oil.

Cold-press extraction.

This involves "cold pressing", that is, at a temperature generally below 40°C, camelina seeds using a screw press to obtain an oil. This oil will then be filtered and decanted.

  • Benefits : None chemical agent is used, thus the oil is less processed and retains the bioactive compounds that are important. It is pure and does not contain any foreign substances. Moreover, this technique respects the environment, as it prevents the release of harmful waste and is energy-efficient.

  • Drawbacks : The oil yield from purely mechanical techniques is quite low compared to others, such as hexane extraction.

The camelina oil contained in our products from the CALM range has been extracted from the seeds through cold pressing, using plants grown in France from organic farming.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction.

In a supercritical state with a pressure exceeding 74 bar and a temperature above 31°C, CO2 possesses high diffusivity and density, which endows it with a significant transport and extraction capacity.

The product to be treated is placed in an extractor through which the flow of CO2 in its supercritical state passes, absorbing the extracted compound. It then transitions into a gaseous phase and separates from the extracted compound, which is collected in a separator.

Molecules soluble in CO2 in its supercritical state, thus extractable, are compounds with low polarity and low molecular weight, such as aromatic compounds, alcohols, and oligomers. Non-soluble products are proteins, sugars, minerals. They can therefore be purified using this technology.

  • Benefits : The CO2 is a natural and available product. It is non-toxic, inert, odourless and colourless. Its use does not alter the products and does not generate polluting residues. Finally, this technique is simple to perform.

  • Drawbacks : The required equipment is quite expensive.

Enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction.

The principle involves destroying the cellular structure of seeds through mechanical rupture. The internal macromolecular complexes (lipoproteins, lipopolysaccharides, and cell wall polysaccharides) are then hydrolysed by enzymes to facilitate the release of oil.

  • Benefits : The technique is effective in terms of time and the amount of solvent consumed is less, it is cost-effective. Moreover, it respects the environment and offers a high yield.

  • Drawbacks : The cost of enzymes and production are quite high.

Hexane Extraction.

The hexane used is intended to degrease the residue of the crushed seeds. A distillation is then carried out, which aims to remove the solvent in order to collect the oil. The n-hexane is the most widely used for the extraction of oilseeds.

  • Advantages : The extraction yield is better, approximately 97% whereas with purely mechanical processes, it is around 89%.

  • Drawbacks : This is a flammable, explosive, irritating, and expensive product. It is an organic solvent that may pose a public health issue (for both humans and the environment).

How is camelina oil preserved?

At room temperature, raw camelina oil is significantly more stable than its high linolenic acid content, which is prone to oxidative degradation, would suggest. Its storage stability must be due to the considerable presence of natural antioxidants, such as vitamin E (0.08%), in the raw oil.

However, heat and light, as well as UV rays, can denature camelina oil, particularly throughthermal oxidation, which accelerates the process. It is therefore recommended to store the oil in a opaque bottle, shielded from light and heat.

Sources

  • FRÖHLICH A. & CROWLEY J. G. Factors affecting the composition and use of Camelina. End of Project Reports Teagasc (1998).

  • HITEX. Le CO2 supercritique : une technologie d'extraction et de fractionnement en fort développement. GazetteLabo (2007).

  • DUMITRIU B. & al. Camelina sativa oil - A review. Scientific Bulletin (2017).

  • Thèse de Sonia LEPELTIER. Étude ethnobotanique de Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz (2021).

  • Thèse de Lylia CHELLALI & Samhia CHELIT. Utilisation des enzymes dans l’extraction des huiles végétales (2021).

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