Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sterols occur as minor components in most natural oils and fats. Sterol recovery from oils is of interest because the sterols can be used as the starting material for the synthesis of synthetic Vitamin D and sex hormones. Although sterols isolated from soybeans were shown to have a cholesterol lowering effect in the 1950's, it is only recently that phytosterols have become important commercially in the food industry due t the increasing consumer demand for nutraceuticals/functional foods. Conventional oil refining processes remove a significant portion of the phytosterols present in crude vegetable oils. This study examines supercritical fluid fractionation technology as an alternative oil refining process to obtain phytosterol-enriched fractions from crude vegetable oils. To affect this, an 8-foot column with Propack internals, operating semi-continuously, was used for the fractionation experiments. Crude rice bran, corn, corn fiber and soybean oils, which were commercially extracted with hexane, were used as feed materials to the column. The effect of pressure (135-340 Bars), both isothermal and temperature gradient (40-80 deg C) operation of the column, and fractionation time, on the composition of the resultant fractions was examined. Compositions of the extract and raffinate fractions were analyzed for steryl fatty acid ester, free sterol and ferulate ester content. A comparison of the phytosterol content of the raffinate samples from the SC-CO2 fractionation column with commercially refined rice bran, corn and soybean oils from conventional extraction and refining processes indicated that SC-CO2 fractionation technique could yield phytosterol-enriched edible oils.