Green chemistry and some applications in the food and pharma industries

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Our planet is under severe stress. The population is now around 8 billion and, as it continues to rise, we need to consider our future generations. Resource efficiency, process efficiency, water quality, green solvents and element sustainability are areas we need to look at carefully in many industries. Green chemistry is a technique in chemical science that aims to use raw materials that are renewable, thereby reducing waste, and to avoid the use of toxic and potentially dangerous reagents and solvents in the production and utilisation of chemical products. Although green chemistry has been around for a few decades, green extraction is a relatively new concept in the food and pharma industries. Green extraction processes use renewable bio-based materials including alternative solvents whilst reducing energy consumption, making the processes safer and creating products which are less toxic. The majority of companies within the food and pharma industries utilise traditional methods of extraction such as solvent extraction, percolation or vacuum, steam, and hydro-distillation. Recent shifts in extraction techniques have increasingly concentrated upon reducing the use of solvents which are petroleum-based. More efficient green extraction methods, such as subcritical water extraction (SWE) [1], supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) [2], and microwave assisted extraction (MAE) [3] are being investigated and employed in the extraction of volatiles, non-volatiles, polyphenols, and essential oils from various plants. SWE as a technique, is considered rapid, economical, non-flammable, non-toxic, safe, environmentally friendly, easily available, and uses a green solvent. SFE (normally CO2) is relatively quick due to the high diffusivity, low viscosity, and adaptable solvent properties of the supercritical fluid. MAE is a fairly new extraction method combining microwave and conventional solvent extraction techniques to increase extraction kinetics. These extraction techniques are not only more rapid and economical, but due to being considered friendly to the environment, they also allow these products to claim a green label, which is desirable to many customers.

KEYWORDS: Green chemistry, Green extraction, Food and pharma industries, Green label
1. Özel, M.Z., Gogus, F., Lewis, A.C. Subcritical water extraction of essential oils from Thymbra spicata. Food Chemistry, (2003), 82, 381-386.
2. Gao,Y., Özel, M.Z., Dugmore, T., Sulaeman, A., Matharu, A.S. A biorefinery strategy for spent industrial ginger waste. Journal of Hazardous Materials, (2021), 401, 123400.
3. Chemat, F., Cravotto, G. Microwave-assisted Extraction for Bioactive Compounds: Theory and Practice: 4 (Food Engineering Series), (2013), New York, Springer.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2023
Event2023 12th Aegean Analytical Chemistry Days - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 19 Oct 202322 Oct 2023
Conference number: 12


Conference2023 12th Aegean Analytical Chemistry Days
Abbreviated titleAACD 2023
Internet address


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