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Spice oleoresins extracted by supercritical fluid extraction process
Wednesday, 01 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Globalisation began with the spice trade. It was the world’s first long distance exchange, its most profitable and for two millennia its most mysterious - John Keay
The Indian story of value-added spice products began in the early 1970s. Over the years, with investments in quality and supply chain management, it has emerged to be the largest in the world. It is not only a local sourcing and processing point but also changed itself as a value addition hub for the spice crops from the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere across the globe.
India is universally recognised as the "spice country" because of the occurrence of a wide variety of spices, condiments and herbs which are used in culinary preparations by population across the country. However the focus for the spice extractive industry has been on chilli, black pepper, ginger, turmeric and cardamom. While cardamom oil is a much valued flavour material for hundreds of food preparations and beverages, whole spice extractives, more commonly referred to as oleoresins, have become important ingredients for the food industry for incorporation in many processed food products. Oleoresins with standard and reliable "active constituent" concentration have several advantages compared to use of whole spices, hence the preference by the industry.
Spices are essential ingredients of our food and eatables. But their use is not limited to food. It serves many other functions such as those of preservatives. Ingredients of spices are extracted and used in various applications in food industry. Oleoresins, oils and other ingredients are obtained from spices for various uses.
Spices are used for flavours, colours, aroma and preservation of food or beverages. Spices may be derived from many parts of the plant: bark, buds, flowers, fruits, leaves, rhizomes, roots, seeds, stigmas and styles or the entire plant tops. There is a continuing and expanding international demand for herbs, spices and essential oils. Social changes, including food diversification, the desire for new flavours, increasing importance of “ethnic” food and the increased importance of processed food, which requires condiments and aromatic herbs for its preparation, are driving an increase in this demand. Developing countries have a significant opportunity to benefit from this increasing demand. Many of the products can be sold in a dried form or as extracts (e.g. essentialoils), which gives them a high value per unit weight. These products could be a profitable source of diversification for small farmers in developing countries.
Methods of Extraction of Spice Oleoresins
Oleoresins are extracted by solvent extraction or supercritical fluid extraction process.Spice oleoresins are extracted by steam distillation. The essential oils are endowed with the major part of the flavour and fragrance properties of the spices. The spice oleoresins are obtained by extraction of dry ground spices with an organic solvent mixture such as ethylene chloride, acetone, hexane or alcohol. It contains all volatile and non-volatile constituents of spice, closely represents the total flavour of fresh spice in concentrated form. The residual solvent of the oleoresins should be below 30ppm.
Overview of the Industry
In India, the export of spice oils and oleoresins during 1967-97 reached a record high of 2,358 MT (metric tonne) valued to Rs1.59crore. This export was against 1355MT valued to Rs 7.16 crore in 1993-94, registered an increase of about 78% in quality. The substantial increase export during 1996-97 was due to increase in export of paprika. The spice oils and oleoresins account more than 80% of export earnings from value-added spices. Oils and oleoresins of pepper largely exported from India are followed by oils and oleoresins of ginger, chilli, turmeric, and other seed spices.
The export of spice oleoresins and essential oils from India amounts to 7,800 tonne in volume and US$255 million in value (2009-12). The industry has witnessed steady growth in volume and value since the beginning. The post-liberalisation economic environment in India facilitated the import of raw materials from Asia-Pacific regions; and the industry leveraged on this to become a processing hub ensuring competitiveness and managing the supply chain effectively.
Oleoresin Products from India
Black pepper, capsicum, cardamom, cassia, celery, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, curry leaf, decalepis, dill seed, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, hing, jalapeno, pepper, mace, mustard, nutmeg, onion, paprika,pimento, rosemary, tamarind, turmeric, white pepper.
Important Components of Oleoresins
Oleoresins are increasingly becoming important for the pharmaceuticals industry with many applications being considered effective in treating several human afflictions. Curcuminoids in turmeric, piperine in black pepper and capsaicin in red chill, are the three major materials of commercial importance. These phytochemicals have been proved to be of excellent nutraceuticals value capable of preempting or curing most of the disease conditions that human race faces today. Recent revelation that curcumin and piperine are effective in killing stem cells that differentiate into breast cancer cells, is of prime importance to the medical community. Similarly capsaicin has been proven to be effective in treating prostate cancer besides an excellent resource to treat inflammation, pain relief, fight sinus infection, irritable bowel syndrome, burning body fat, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, dissolving clot inducing fibrin, preventing platelet aggregation and protecting the heart, relief from arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
If these claims are true a time may come when oleoresins may not be available to the food industry with demand from the pharmaceutical industry outstripping that from the former. Probably cultivation of crops like chilli, black pepper and turmeric may expand several fold as commercial non-food crops. Such developments may also spur synthetic organic chemists to look for synthetic routes to make these much valued substances. Already synthetic capsaicin is available in the market and time may not be far off when synthetic versions of others start appearing. The present preference for natural sources for internal consumption is the only constraint that stands in the way of synthetic analogs dominating the market.
The Importance of Oleoresins
Achieving efficient and consistent results using ground spices is a challenging task. Oleoresins can replace the original ground spice with a standardised taste and aroma that can be tailored as per the requirement of the product.They are economical, with easier quality control, and require lesser storage space. They have a longer shelf life, are cleaner (no bacterial contamination) and are a convenient substitute for ground spices.
Advantages of Oleoresins
Easy to store and transport; More stable when heated; More economical to use; Easier to control for quality and cleaner than the equivalent ground spices; Free from contamination; Concentrated form reduces storage space and bulk handling and transport requirements; Concentrated and virtually moisture-free form of oleoresins ensures longer shelf life due to minimal oxidative degradation or loss of flavour; Big potential for new product development; Consistency in flavour; Convenience of use - can be blended to achieve the desired characteristics; Convenient hygienic substitutes for spice powders in fortifying flavour profiles of food products; Full release of flavour during cooking; Much longer shelf life; Negligible moisture content; Zero bacterial contamination.
Spice oleoresins can be used across industries and areas like food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, confectionery, health & wellness, personal care, agriculture and livestock, baby products, supplement products, antioxidants, and culinary.
• Bakery : Cereal, energy bars crackers and crispbreads.
• Beverages: Carbonated beverages, meal replacements, tea & ready-to-drink beverages.
• Dairy: Dry milk, fermented milk beverages, flavoured milk, milk drinks, milk-based meal replacements & yogurt.
• Processed food: Energy, sport, and isotonic drinks & chewing gums.
• Soup: Canned soups.
• Flavouring Agent: Due to its pungent effect it is used to provide flavour in food products.
• Colouring Agent: Colouring of food, eatables and medicines is common application where chilli oleoresin gives a range of red colour.
• Safety Gear: It is used in making safety gear for girls and can make a person blind for few minutes.
• Preservative: Capsaicinoids help to preserve the meet and other food items against microbial activity.
• Pharmacological: Chilli oleoresin possesses antioxidant, analgesia, anticancer & anti-inflammation features.It radically reduces free radicals in our body.
Examples of Spice Oleoresins
CO2 Extracted Oleoresins
These unlike solvent extracted oleoresins, do not have any alcoholic residues in the final oleoresin. These oleoresins are much more expensive and can be used in products such as baby foods or foods in the health industry.
This range of oleoresins covers highly concentrated products such as capsicum 95% capsacin or turmeric 95% curcumin. These oleoresins are used in products such as supplements for cancer and heat balms.
It is a popular alternative to dried oleoresin in culinary products. Rosemary Oleoresin is provided in oil- and water-soluble varieties and can be used in products such as canned fish, beef jerky. Rosemary Oleoresin is also used as an antioxidant in oil products such as soaps and specialty oils. In some natural organic liquid fertilisers, water-soluble Rosemary Oleoresin is also used as an effective antioxidant.
It is used in a number of products such as pepper spray, heat balms and culinary products.
It is used in a number of products such as medical supplements and culinary products.
It is used in a number of products such as medical supplements and culinary products. Turmeric has natural properties that may aid in the treatment of various forms of cancer. Turmeric oil finds applications in the pharmaceuticals industry because of its role in relieving pain, anxiety and stress; fighting physical and mental depression, etc. It also is a popular insect repellant. The benefits of turmeric on the skin have been well proved.
1. Food: Turmeric oil is used in food for colouring and spice effect.
2. Turmeric oil is used extensively for cosmetics as it makes our skin glow.
3. It can also be used as an ingredient in toothpastes.
It is extracted from dried berries of piper nigrum. It is widely cultivated in India. Stimulant to appetite as well as an aid in the relief of nausea, dysentery, dyspepsia. Acts as a central nervous system depressant and suppresses fever and pain.Exhibits anti-inflammatory and insecticidal properties. Used in arthritis as a pain reliever.Piperine enhances the bioavailability of various nutrients through increased absorption.
1. Food:Used as a flavour in food applications and as table condiment.
2. Preservative:In meat products it is used for curing and preserving.
3. Pharmaceuticals: Due to antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties it has many applications in pharmaceuticals.
Red Chilli: Chilli oleoresin compounds are used extensively in pharmaceuticals industry. Capsaicinoids are quite effective as analgesia, anticancer, anti-inflammation, antioxidant and anti-obesity. Capsaicinoids may have potential application in pain relief, cancer prevention and weight loss. In addition, capsaicinoids also display the benefits on cardiovascular and gastrointestinal system.
(The author is nutritionist, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. She can be contacted at email@example.com)
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