Phytochemical plant extractions using switchable-hydrophilicity solvents


  • Gaganpreet Gill MacEwan University


Essential oils extracted from plants contain phytochemicals that are useful for a number of applications, such as the food industry, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Traditional methods of extracting these oils can involve using harmful solvents, which are typically removed using distillation and considered waste after each extraction process. Recently, an alternative class of solvents, called switchable-hydrophilicity solvents (SHSs), have been identified as an alternative to traditionally used solvents. SHSs can switch between being immiscible with water in its natural form, to miscible with water when mixed with dissolved carbon dioxide. Theoretically, SHSs can be used as a solvent to extract phytochemicals from plants and can be removed from the product of interest through switching rather than distillation. Additionally, a SHS could be readily reusable for sequential cycles of an extraction process. This presentation compares the use of N,N-dimethylcyclohexylamine (DMCHA) as a SHS in oil extractions against traditional methods (steam distillation and Soxhlet extraction) of extracting Lavandula vera (L. vera) essential oils. The chemical composition of essential oils and selectivity to compounds of interest were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The findings of this project can be used for future contributions studying the sustainability of using SHSs as solvents in phytochemical plant extractions.

Department: Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Tina Bott and Dr. Roland Lee





Physical Sciences