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J Chromatogr A. 2004 Jul 23;1043(2):323-7.

Solvent-free microwave extraction of essential oil from aromatic herbs: comparison with conventional hydro-distillation.

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Laboratoire de Chimie des Substances, Naturelles et des Sciences des Aliments, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, Université de la Réunion, 15 Avenue René Cassin, BP 7151, F-97715 Saint Denis Messag Cedex 9, La Réunion, France DOM.


Solvent-free microwave extraction (SFME) is a combination of microwave heating and dry distillation, performed at atmospheric pressure without added any solvent or water. Isolation and concentration of volatile compounds are performed by a single stage. SFME has been compared with a conventional technique, hydro-distillation (HD), for the extraction of essential oil from three aromatic herbs: basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), garden mint (Mentha crispa L.), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.). The essential oils extracted by SFME for 30min were quantitatively (yield) and qualitatively (aromatic profile) similar to those obtained by conventional hydro-distillation for 4.5 h. The SFME method yields an essential oil with higher amounts of more valuable oxygenated compounds, and allows substantial savings of costs, in terms of time, energy and plant material. SFME is a green technology and appears as a good alternative for the extraction of essential oils from aromatic plants.

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