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Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura
Print version ISSN 0100-2945
RIBEIRO, Bernardo Dias et al. An ethanol-based process to simultaneously extract and fractionate carotenoids from Mauritia flexuosa L. Pulp. Rev. Bras. Frutic. [online]. 2010, vol.32, n.3, pp.657-663. Epub Sep 24, 2010. ISSN 0100-2945. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-29452010005000099.
Mauritia vinifera (buriti) is a palm tree that grows wild in different areas of Brazil, particularly in the Amazonian region. The buriti oil is rich in carotenoids, especially in β-carotene. The growing interest in other natural sources of β-carotene has stimulated the industrial use of buriti as a raw material for pulp oil extraction. Most processes are based on the conventional technologies, involving drying and pressing the pulp for oil recovery and further separation of carotenoids in a liquid phase using organics solvents. In the present work, the ethanol-based process was evaluated for simultaneous carotenoids recovering and fractionating from buriti pulp. The raw material and ethanol, 1:4 ratio, were placed in an erlenmeyer flask and maintained at 30rpm for 1 hour in a temperature-controlled bath at 65ºC. The mixture was filtered under vacuum and cooling at 10ºC to allow for the separation of the solvent in two phases. Carotenoids composition, determined by HPLC, has indicated a β-carotene concentration about 12 times greater in the lower phase than in the upper phase. The profile of the carotenoids in the denser phase is quite similar to that of raw buriti oil, and the concentration of total carotenoids is 40% higher than that of the original raw oil, making the ethanol-based process particularly attractive for industrial applications.
Keywords : Beta-carotene; vegetable oil; ethanol; buriti.