Ultrasonication Outcompetes Other Extraction Methods by Speed

The rapid procedure of ultrasonic extraction and the therefrom resulting time savings in extract production are one of many advantages of ultrasonic extraction of bioactive compounds from plants. Ultrasonic extraction has been scientifically compared to alternative extraction techniques such as supercritical CO2 extraction, maceration, heat-reflux, Soxhlet, or microwave extraction and research results prove the significant advantage of ultrasonication regarding extraction speed and yield.

Ultrasonication as Rapid Extraction Procedure

Ultrasonic extraction of bioactive compounds is well known for its high yields, high-quality extracts, short extraction time, low energy-consumption and the capability to work with very mild solvents. All these factors contribute to the extraordinary overall efficiency of ultrasonic extraction of bioactive constituents from plant materials.
Below you can find a selection of scientific research reports, in which ultrasonic extraction (also ultrasound-assisted extraction / UAE) were compared with other extraction techniques such as maceration, Soxhlet, heat-reflux, supercritical CO2, and microwave extraction.

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Ultrasonic extraction excels other extraction techniques in high speed (shortened duration), higher yields and higher extract quality.

Ultrasonicator UP400St for high-speed extraction of botanicals in batch mode

Extraction ApplicationUltrasonic extraction timeAlternative extraction method timeAdditional informationSource
Anthocyanin extraction from myrtle berries5 min15 min
ultrasonicator UP200SGonzalez et al., 2019
Boldo leave extraction5-30 min15-90 min
ultrasonicator UIP1000hdT
“We can see that from 5 to 30 min of sonication, the yield is equivalent to the yield of conventional maceration at 15 to 90 min: UAE requires a third of the time to extract the soluble material of the leaves in conventional maceration.“
Petigny et al., 2013
Extraction of total phenols and flavonoids from sage11 min30 min
conventional extraction with water bath shaker at 60ºC
ultrasonic extractors
UP100H, UP400S
Dent et al., 2015
Extraction of olive leaf polyphenols21 min60min
conventional heat-reflux extraction
ultrasonicator UP400SDobrinčić et al., 2020
Extraction of bioactive phenolics from Malva sylvestris leaves49 min
48°C at 110W
5 h
agitated bed extraction at 150 rpm
Ultrasonicator UP200S
HPLC analysis revealed that the concentration of bioactive phenolics increased significantly (p≺0.05) under the optimal UAE conditions.
Bimakr et al., 2017
Extraction of Lipids from Winter Melon (Benincasa hispida) Seed∼36 minSupercritical carbon dioxide extraction combined with pressure swing technique (SCE-PST) (∼50 min), supercritical CO2 (∼97 min), and conventional Soxhlet extraction (∼360 min)Comparison of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE), supercritical carbon dioxide extraction combined with pressure swing technique (SCE-PST) and Soxhlet extraction shows that UAE is the most efficient and rapid extraction technique.Bimakr et al. (2015)
Ultrasonic extraction is significantly more efficient and faster than alternative extraction techniques such as supercritical carbon dioxide (SCO2) extraction and Soxhlet extraction.

Comparison of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE), supercritical carbon dioxide extraction combined with pressure swing technique (SCE-PST) and Soxhlet extraction shows that UAE is the most efficient and rapid extraction technique.

The Advantages of Ultrasonic Botanical Extraction

  • High extraction efficiency
  • Superior extraction yields
  • Rapid process
  • Low temperatures
  • Suitable to extract thermolabile compounds
  • Compatible with any solvent
  • Low-energy consumption
  • Green extraction technique
  • Easy and safe operation
  • Low investment and operational costs
  • 24/7 operation under heavy-duty

High-Performance Ultrasonic Extractors for Express Isolation of Compounds

Hielscher’s state-of-the-art ultrasonic equipment enable for a rapid extraction of high-quality bio-molecules from plants. Full control over the process parameters such as amplitude, temperature, pressure and energy input allow for the most efficient and mildest extraction conditions producing undamaged, highly bioactive extracts. Optimizing ultrasonic extraction parameters such as raw material particle size, solvent type, solid-to-solvent ratio, and extraction time can be optimized for highest efficiency and best overall results. Since ultrasonic extraction is a non-thermal extraction method, thermal degradation of the bioactive ingredients can be avoided resulting in superior extract quality.
Overall, advantages such as high yield, short extraction time, low extraction temperature, and the reduced solvent requirements make sonication the preferred extraction method.

Ultrasonic botanical extraction gives higher yields. The Hielscher UIP2000hdT, 2000 watts homogenizer is powerful enough to extract batches from 10 liters to 120 liters easily.

Ultrasonic Extraction of Botanicals - 30 Liter / 8 Gallon Batch

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The comparison of ultrasonic and microwave extraction shows that anthocyanin extraction from myrtle berries is more efficient using ultrasonication.

Ultrasoniction outcompetes microwave in the anthocyanin extraction from myrtle berries. Sonication is three times faster than microwave extraction.

Ultrasonic extraction of total phenols and flavonoids from sage is significantly faster than conventional extraction in a water bath shaker

The comparison of ultrasonic vs conventional with a water bath shaker shows a significantly reduced extraction time for total phenols and flavonoids from sage when ultrasound extraction is used. Ultrasonic extraction requires only one third of the extraction time with a water bath shaker.

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Ultrasonic Extraction: Established in Lab and Industry

Ultrasonic extraction is widely applied for the extraction of any kind of bioactive compound from botanicals, fungi, algae, bacteria and mammalian cells. Ultrasonic extraction has been established as a simple, cost-effective and highly efficient that excels other traditional extraction techniques by higher extraction yields and shorter processing duration.
With lab, bench-top and fully-industrial ultrasonic systems readily available, ultrasonic extraction is nowadays an well-established and trusted technology. Hielscher ultrasonic extractors are installed worldwide in industrial processing facilities for the production of food- and pharma-grade bioactive compounds.
The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch VolumeFlow RateRecommended Devices
1 to 500mL10 to 200mL/minUP100H
10 to 2000mL20 to 400mL/minUP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L0.2 to 4L/minUIP2000hdT
10 to 100L2 to 10L/minUIP4000hdT
n.a.10 to 100L/minUIP16000
n.a.largercluster of UIP16000

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Ultrasonic high-shear homogenizers are used in lab, bench-top, pilot and industrial processing.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for mixing applications, dispersion, emulsification and extraction on lab, pilot and industrial scale.

Literature / References

Facts Worth Knowing

Working Principle of Ultrasonic Extraction

Ultrasonic extraction is a widely used method to isolate and separate bioactive components from plant materials. Since sonication is compatible with any kind of solvent, the ultrasonic extraction procedure can be optimally designed regarding bioactive compounds (i.e., the targeted compounds), their polarity, solubility, heat-sensitivity and other factors. Adapting the sonication process specifically to a certain compound or various compounds, the most ideal setup can be chosen in order to obtain an extract of extraordinarily high quality.
Ultrasound waves coupled into a liquid or slurry creates intense vibrations and acoustic cavitation. Acoustic aka ultrasonic cavitation is determined by locally occurring extremely high pressure differentials, shear forces and liquid jets. These forces break cell walls, disrupt vegetable cells and intensify the mass transfer between cell interior and solvent. Thereby, bioactive ingredients are released efficiently into the surrounding solvent, from where target molecules can be easily isolated and purified (e.g., by rotor-evaporation, steam-distillation, or HPLC).

Ultrasonic disruptors are used for extractions from phyto sources (e.g. plants, algae, fungi)

Ultrasonic extraction from plant cells: the microscopic transverse section (TS) shows the mechanism of actions during ultrasonic extraction from cells (magnification 2000x)
[source: Vilkhu et al. 2011]

High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to industrial size.

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