Plant extraction is a process that aims to extract certain components present in plants. It is a solid/liquid separation operation: a solid object (the plant) is placed in contact with a fluid (the solvent). The plant components of interest are then solubilised and contained within the solvent. The solution thus obtained is the desired extract.
An extract may be common to different sectors based on its chemical description, although different sectors mean different technologies (different forms, solubility, stability), different regulation, different claim, different problematic.
The quality constraints in terms of
- sustainable resources
- trace ability
The chemical and physical request in terms of description (TLC, physical recognition, genotype) as well as heavy metals, nitrates, solvents, residues such as pesticides or residual solvents, additives, foreign bodies, etc…
The regulation in terms of assay, solvent, environmental components, legal uses, registration or notification (reach, organic grades,…), labeling, claims, certification (GMP, ISO), etc..
A number of factors can have an impact on the quality of the plant extract, and combining them makes it possible to obtain an almost infinite number of different extracts.
The raw material is one of the most important parameters, but also the most difficult to master. In fact, even within a plant variety, there is often considerable variation in the quality depending on climatic conditions, cultivation practices, geographical origin, etc. This makes it all the more difficult to guarantee the consistent quality of the extracts.
The specificity and yield of the extractions also depend on their intrinsic parameters (quality of the solvent, choice of equipment and properties pertaining to the procedures).