Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #142574


item Isbell, Terry
item Cermak, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/6/2003
Publication Date: 3/25/2004
Citation: Isbell, T., Cermak, S.C. 2004. Purification of meadowfoam monoestolide from polyestolide. Industrial Crops and Products. 19:119-118.

Interpretive Summary: Meadowfoam is a developing new crop in the Pacific Northwestern United States that produces a high value vegetable oil. To improve the size of the market for meadowfoam oil and increase production of meadowfoam acreage, new products must be made from the oil. One such new product is called an estolide. The estolide has shown to be useful as a conditioner for hair products. However, the estolide is dark in color and this limits its use in cosmetics. We demonstrated that a simple process called distillation can greatly improve the color of estolide by separating the major part of the estolide into a nearly colorless fraction called monoestolide. The monoestolide was isolated by boiling it from the dark colored material called polyestolide using a very high vacuum. The isolated monoestolide now has properties suitable for use in cosmetics.

Technical Abstract: Meadowfoam estolide was fractionated into monoestolide (dimer) and polyestolide (oligomers) by short path molecular distillation. The distilled monoestolide had a Gardner Color of one compared to the starting material which was twelve. Flow rate and rotor temperature were varied and the resultant fractionation of mono- and polyestolide were observed. Monoestolide in the distillate was increased to 89% (starting material, 64% monoestolide) in a single pass distillation (rotor temperature = 200 C) with residual monoestolide concentration in the residue of 18%. Multiple pass distillation removed all of the monoestolide from the residue fraction. The split ratio (distillate to residue) was highest at the lower flow rate studied with the highest rotor temperature (325 C), however, considerable amount of co-distillation of polyestolide (50%) was observed. Rotor temperatures beyond 250 C gave significant declines in the purity of the distilled monoestolide even though the observed split ratio increased. Residual monoestolide composition in the residue was identical for both the low flow and high flow rate studied.