Brazil Nut Oil Extraction Using Subcritical n-Propane: Advantages and Chemical Composition
In order to provide an effective and environmentally correct alternative for oil extraction, subcritical n-propane was used under different temperature and pressure conditions to obtain Brazil nut oil. The composition of the oil was determined and compared to the oils obtained by conventional methods. The result of the extraction yield obtained using subcritical fluid extraction (SFE) at 60 ºC, 6 MPa and granulometry < 1.40 mm (63.13%) presented minor differences to the yield obtained by Soxhlet extraction (SE) (68.44%) and Bligh and Dyer extraction (BD) (59.54%). The composition in fatty acids was similar regardless of the method of extraction used. Oxidized triacylglycerols (TAGs) were found in the oils extracted by SE and BD while they were not detected in the oils extracted by SFE. The quantity of bioactive compounds was higher in the oils obtained by SFE. Thus, the SFE using n-propane preserves the nutritional characteristics and lipophilic components of the oil, besides improving the availability of bioactive compounds from an effective “green extraction” without the use of toxic solvents.