& Essential Oils




Oleoresins & Essential Oils - Science

We have demonstrated our commitment to bring quality products by making substantial Investment in premises, equipment and personnel. At Akay, we employ proven methods and advanced technologies in our manufacturing process. It is indeed the in-depth research and development that enabled us to uncover manufacturing processes conforming to superior technical standards.

Processing of whole ingredients from cleaning and sorting to steam sterilisation, cracking, grinding, blending and packing, gives us control over the quality of product we deliver. Quality is our motto and we make it a point that the end products retains the flavour and aroma of the source, which is why we have adopted the following scientific methods for our manufacturing process.

  • 1 Steam Distillation
  • 2 Super Critical Extraction
  • 3Solvent Extraction

Most of the spices contain essential oils that give them a specific aroma profile, unique to each spice. These volatile oils are recovered from the spices through steam distillation process. This process involves 3 stages of operation.

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Pre-treatment – Cleaning and Flaking

The spice is cleaned of all dust and dirt and is sent for flaking. Spices are generally flaked using a roller mill that is cooled by running cold water. These very thin flakes are charged to the steam distillation vessel.

Steam distillation and fraction collection

Steam is purged to the flaked spice charged in the steam distillation vessel. This steam carries with it the volatile oil which in turn is cooled through cooling water condensers.

The condensed steam along with the essential oil is cooled in steel tanks. The oil segregates in the top and the water is continuously removed from the bottom of the tank. The essential oil is collected as three fractions – the lighter, medium and high, by adjusting the distillation time.

Drying of the steam distilled spice

The flaked spice after steam distillation is dried inside the vessel using hot air. This dried spice is then transferred to the solvent extractors.

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This is a latest extraction technology employing liquefied carbon dioxide as the solvent. Supercritical carbon dioxide behaves as an excellent solvent for extraction. As the supercritical nature of carbon dioxide is achieved at high pressures above 30 MPa, the process of super critical extraction is done at very high pressures. We employ specially designed high pressure extractors for extraction. By adjusting the pressure it is possible to take the essential oil first followed by the oleoresins. By releasing the pressure the carbon dioxide is transferred to the collection tank and the essential oils and oleoresins are collected in separate tanks by the differential pressure maintained in the receivers.

The main advantage of this process is that there is no solvent residue in the final product as all carbon dioxide escapes with the release of pressure from the system. Also, the process is done at low temperatures and there is no heating of the spice, making the oleoresin resemble the spice very closely in flavour and aroma.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is a green solvent system approved for organic products.

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This process involves extraction of the spice using solvents like hexane, acetone or a mixture based on the spice used. We have two batch extraction plants and a continuous extraction plant for the extraction of spice. The batch extraction process involves percolation of the solvent through the spice, after steam distillation, by several washing with the solvent until the extraction is complete, i.e. till all the active ingredients in the spice are fully taken to the solvent. The miscella thus formed contains about 10% of extracts (oleoresin) from the spice and 90% solvents. This miscella is then evaporated in a 3 stage evaporation system. With this we reduce the contact time of the miscella with heat to the minimum level, thereby reducing the degradation of the active natural molecules present in the spice. The concentrated oleoresin after the ATFE is taken for final solvent removal in vacuum desolventiser. Here high vacuum is applied to remove the solvent traces below 25 ppm. The product is then stored in quarantine tanks and inspected for residual solvent levels and other quality parameters. This crude oleoresin is then blended to the required specification as per the customer requirements or the standard specifications.

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