On January 12, the director of the trade department and government officials of Jilin province (China) visited Fytagoras. The aim of the visit was to learn about the new plant extraction facilities that were recently launched at Fytagoras. In this facility, medium scale extraction, sensor technology, data interpretation and mathematical modelling are combined. The visit fits into the recent developments at Fytagoras in with increased cooperation with Chinese institutes and companies.
Many pharmaceutically active compounds are extracted from plants, to be used in both Western medicine and the more traditional, herbal based, Asian medical practise. The plant chemical compounds are produced on industrial scale in large extraction factories. This type of extraction often takes place according to traditional methods as described in (old) handbooks. Fytagoras launched a research and innovation facility where extraction processes can be studied in great detail. Economic efficiency, quality improvement and sustainability are the key factors in the process optimization aimed for.
Application of innovative extraction technology in existing industrial processing is risky business. The effect of up-scaling is poorly predictable. Therefore, Fytagoras realised a scale model of a an existing industrial extraction plant. The scale model is equipped with the newest sensor technology to monitor all relevant parameters in the extraction process. The obtained data is used to develop and validate mathematical models that can be used for process optimization and prediction of up-scaling effects.
In the presence of the director of the trade department, and government officials of Jilin province in China the first experimental extractions were done successfully. The sensorized extraction unit with accompanying mathematical model cannot only be used for the extraction of pharmacologically active compounds from plants, but also be used as generic test model for industrial up-scaling of extraction processes. In addition, the unit can be used to provide extraction service of plant material at medium sized scale for third parties.