Ultrasonic Extraction – Versatile and Usable for Any Botanical Material

Can I use my probe-type ultrasonicator for cannabis and psilocybin extraction? The answer is: Yes! You can use your ultrasonicator for numerous different raw materials to produce high-quality extracts. The beauty of the ultrasonic extraction technique lies in its compatibility with virtually any botanical raw material and solvent. Therefore, ultrasonic extraction gives high yields within short process times for both, polar and non-polar molecules.

Extraction of Polar and Non-Polar Molecules with Ultrasound

The degree of extractability of bioactive compounds is determined by various factors such as the surrounding cellular structures or the polarity of the target molecule.
„Like Dissolves Like“
The solubility at molecular level can be differentiated generally into two different categories: polar and non-polar.
Polar molecules have positively + and negatively – charged ends. Non-polar molecules have almost no charge (zero charge) or the charge is balanced. Solvents range in these categories and can be e.g., heavily, medium or low polar or non-polar.
As the phrase „Like Dissolves Like“ hints, molecules dissolve best in a solvent with the same polarity.
Polar solvents will dissolve polar compounds. Non-polar solvents dissolve non-polar compounds. Depending in the polarity of the botanical compound, a suitable solvent with high dissolving capacity must be chosen.

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The ultrasonicator UP400St is a widely used ultrasound extractor for the isolation of bioactive compounds from plant materials.

Ultrasonic extractor UP400St (400watts) for crafting high-quality botanical extracts, e.g. from hemp, marijuana, mushrooms and herbs.

Ultrasonication is a fast and mild extraction method to produce high-quality mushroom extract. In the video, a UP400St is used for shitake extraktion.

Cold Mushroom Extraction using UP400St with 22mm probe

Lipids and fats are non-polar molecules. Phytochemicals such as the major cannabinoids (CBD, THC), terpenes, tocopherols, chlorophyll A and carotenoids are such non-polar molecules. Aqueous molecules such as psilocybin, anthocyanins, most alkaloids, chlorophyll B, vitamin C, and B vitamins are types of polar molecules.
This means that you should choose different solvents for cannabis and psilocybin extraction, since cannabinoid molecules are nonpolar, while psilocybin molecules are polar. Accordingly, the polarity of the solvent matters. Polar molecules such as the phytochemical psilocybin dissolve best in polar solvents. Prominent polar solvents are e.g. water or methanol. Non-polar molecules, on the other hand, dissolve best in non-polar solvents such as hexane or toluene.

Ultrasound Extraction of Any Phytochemical Choosing the Ideal Solvent

The advantage of the ultrasonic extractor is its compatibility with almost any solvent type. You can use an ultrasound extraction system with polar and non-polar solvents.
Some raw materials such as vital mushrooms often benefit from a two-stage extraction process, where ultrasonic extraction is performed successively with a polar and non-polar solvent. Such a two-stage extraction releases both, the polar and non-polar molecule types.

Water is a polar solvent; other polar solvents include acetone, acetonitrile, dimethylformamide (DMF), dimelthylsulfoxide (DMSO), isopropanol, and methanol.
Note: Although water is technically a solvent, water-based extraction is often termed in layman terms as a solvent-free extraction.
Ethanol, acetone, dichloromethane etc. are categorized as intermediate polar, whilst n-hexane, ether, chloroform, toluene, etc. are nonpolar.

Ethanol – the Versatile Solvent for Botanical Extraction

Ethanol, a heavily used solvent for botanical extraction, is a medium polar solvent. This means, ethanol has polar and non-polar extraction properties. Having polar and non-polar extraction capacities, makes ethanol an ideal solvent for broad-spectrum extracts as often produced from botanicals such as hemp, cannabis, and other herbs, where a variety of different phytochemicals are extracted in order to obtain the so-called entourage effect. The entourage effect describes the effect of various bioactive compounds in combination, which results in a significantly more pronounced health-promoting effects. For instance, a broad-spectrum hemp extract contains various cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), terpenes, terpenoids, alkaloids and other phytochemicals, which work in combination and enforce the beneficial effects of the extracted in a holistic way.

Simple Switch between Botanical Materials

The change between batches of various botanicals raw materials is simple and quickly done.
For ultrasonic batch extraction, simply prepare your slurry consisting of (dried) macerated plant material, e.g. hemp in ethanol. Insert the ultrasonic probe (aka sonotrode) into the vessel and sonicate for the determined time. After sonication, remove the ultrasonic probe from the batch. Cleaning of the ultrasonicator is simple and takes only a minute: Wipe down the sonotrode to remove plant particulates, then use the ultrasonicator’s CIP (clean-in-place) feature. Insert the sonotrode in a beaker with water, switch the unit on and let run the device for 20-30 sec. Thereby, the ultrasonic probe cleans itself.
Now, you are ready to run the next batch for the extraction of another botanical such as psilocybin in water.
Similarly, ultrasonic inline systems equipped with flow cell are cleaned via CIP mechanism. Feeding the flow cell with water whilst running the ultrasound is mostly sufficient for cleaning. Of course, you can add a little amount of cleaning agents (e.g., to facilitate the removal of oils).
Ultrasonic extractors are universally usable for any kind of bioactive compounds and their polarity-wise suitable solvent.

Industrial ultrasonic extraction system with 16kW for continuous inline manufacturing of  high-quality botanical extracts from plants and mushrooms.

MultiSonoReactor with 4x 4kW for large-scale (mass) production of botanical extracts.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Extraction

  • Higher yield
  • High quality
  • No thermal degradation
  • Rapid extraction
  • Simple and Safe Operation
  • Green Extraction
Ultrasonic extraction can be combined with organically certified solvents for superior efficiency and eco-friendliness. This allows for ultrasonic production of fully natural, organic mushroom extracts.

Ultrasonic extractor UIP2000hdT (2000 watts) for the production of fully natural, organic extracts from cannabis, herbs, mushrooms etc.

Find the Best High-Performance Ultrasonicator for Your Extraction Purposes

Hielscher Ultrasonics extractors are well established in the field of botanical extraction. Extract producers – from small boutique extract manufacturers to large-scale mass producers – find in Hielscher‘ broad equipment range the ideal ultrasonicator for their production capacity. Batch as well as continuous inline process setups are readily available, quickly installed as well as safe and intuitively to operate.

Highest Quality – Designed & Manufactured in Germany

The sophisticated hardware and smart software of Hielscher ultrasonicators are designed to guarantee reliable ultrasonic extraction results from your botanical raw material with reproducible outcomes and user-friendly, safe operation. Built for 24/7 operation and offering high robustness and low maintenance requirements, Hielscher ultrasound extractors are a reliable and comfortable solution for botanical extract producers.
Hielscher Ultrasonics extractors are used worldwide in the production of high-quality botanical extracts. Proven to produce high-quality extract, Hielscher ultrasonicators are not only used smaller crafters of boutique extracts, but mostly in the industrial production of widely commercial distributed extracts and nutritional supplements. Due to their robustness and low maintenance, Hielscher ultrasonic processors can be easily installed, operated and monitored.

Automatic Data Protocolling

In order to fulfil the production standards of nutritional supplements and therapeutics, production processes must be detailed monitored and recorded. Hielscher Ultrasonics digital ultrasonic devices feature automatic data protocolling. Due to this smart feature, all important process parameters such as ultrasonic energy (total and net energy), temperature, pressure and time are automatically stored onto a built-in SD-card as soon as the device is switched on. Process monitoring and data recording are important for continuous process standardization and product quality. By accessing the automatically recorded process data, you can revise previous sonication runs and evaluate the outcome.
Another user-friendly feature is the browser remote control of our digital ultrasonic systems. Via remote browser control you can start, stop, adjust and monitor your ultrasonic processor remotely from anywhere.
Want to learn more about the advantages of ultrasonic extraction? Contact us now to discuss your botanical extract manufacturing process! Our well-experienced staff will be glad to share more information about ultrasonic extraction, our ultrasonic systems and pricing!

Why is Ultrasonic Extraction the Best Method?

Efficiency

  • Higher yields
  • Rapid extraction process – within minutes
  • High quality extracts – mild, non-thermal extraction
  • Green solvents (water, ethanol, glycerin, vegetable oils, NADES etc.)

Simplicity

  • Plug-and-play – Set-up and operate within minutes
  • High throughput – For large scale extract production
  • Batch-wise or continuous inline operation
  • Simple installation and start-up
  • Portable / Movable – Portable units or built on wheels
  • Linear scale up – add another ultrasonic system in parallel to increase capacity
  • Remote monitoring and control – via PC, smart phone or tablet
  • No process supervision required – Set-up and run
  • High-Performance – designed for continuous 24/7 production
  • Robustness and low maintenance
  • High quality – designed and built in Germany
  • Quick load and discharge between lots
  • Easy to clean

Safety

  • Simple and safe to run
  • Solvent-less or solvent-based extraction (water, ethanol, vegetable oils, glycerin, etc.)
  • No high pressures and temperatures
  • ATEX-certified explosion-proof systems available
  • Easy to control (also via remote control)

The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch Volume Flow Rate Recommended Devices
1 to 500mL 10 to 200mL/min UP100H
10 to 2000mL 20 to 400mL/min UP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L 0.2 to 4L/min UIP2000hdT
10 to 100L 2 to 10L/min UIP4000hdT
n.a. 10 to 100L/min UIP16000
n.a. larger cluster 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

Solvents and Their Polarity

The table below lists the most common solvents arranged in order from lowest to highest polarity.

Solvent formula boiling point (degC) melting point (degC)  density 
(g/mL)
solubility in H2O   (g/100g) relative
polarity
cyclohexane C6H12 80.7 6.6 0.779 0.005 0.006
pentane C5H12 36.1 -129.7 0.626 0.0039  0.009
hexane C6H14 69 -95 0.655 0.0014 0.009
heptane C7H16 98 -90.6 0.684 0.0003 0.012
carbon tetrachloride CCl4 76.7 -22.4 1.594 0.08  0.052
carbon disulfide CS2 46.3 -111.6 1.263 0.2 0.065
p-xylene C8H10 138.3 13.3 0.861 0.02 0.074
toluene C7H8 110.6 -93 0.867 0.05 0.099
benzene C6H6 80.1 5.5 0.879 0.18 0.111
ether C4H10O 34.6 -116.3 0.713 7.5 0.117
methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE) C5H12O 55.2 -109 0.741 4.8 0.124
diethylamine C4H11N 56.3 -48 0.706 M 0.145
dioxane  C4H8O2 101.1 11.8 1.033 M 0.164
N,N-dimethylaniline C8H11N 194.2 2.4 0.956 0.14 0.179
chlorobenzene C6H5Cl 132 -45.6 1.106 0.05 0.188
anisole C 7H8O 153.7 -37.5 0.996 0.10 0.198
tetrahydrofuran  (THF) C4H8O 66 -108.4 0.886 30 0.207
ethyl acetate C4H8O2 77 -83.6 0.894 8.7 0.228
ethyl benzoate C9H10O2 213 -34.6 1.047 0.07 0.228
dimethoxyethane (glyme) C4H10O2 85 -58 0.868 M 0.231
diglyme C6H14O3 162 -64 0.945 M 0.244
methyl acetate C 3H 6O2 56.9 -98.1 0.933 24.4 0.253
chloroform  CHCl3 61.2 -63.5 1.498 0.8 0.259
3-pentanone C5H12O 101.7 -39.8 0.814 3.4 0.265
1,1-dichloroethane C2H4Cl2 57.3 -97.0 1.176 0.5 0.269
di-n-butyl phthalate C16H22O4 340 -35 1.049 0.0011 0.272
cyclohexanone C6H10O 155.6 -16.4 0.948 2.3 0.281
pyridine C5H5N 115.5 -42 0.982 M 0.302
dimethylphthalate C10H10O4 283.8 1 1.190 0.43 0.309
methylene chloride CH2Cl2 39.8 -96.7 1.326 1.32 0.309
2-pentanone C 5H 10O 102.3 -76.9 0.809 4.3 0.321
2-butanone C4H8O 79.6 -86.3 0.805 25.6 0.327
1,2-dichloroethane C2H4Cl2 83.5 -35.4 1.235 0.87 0.327
benzonitrile C7H5N 205 -13 0.996 0.2 0.333
acetone C3H6O 56.2 -94.3 0.786 M 0.355
dimethylformamide (DMF) C3H7NO 153 -61 0.944 M 0.386
t-butyl alcohol  C4H10O 82.2 25.5 0.786 M 0.389
aniline C6H7N 184.4 -6.0 1.022 3.4 0.420
dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) C2H6OS 189 18.4 1.092 M 0.444
acetonitrile C2H3N 81.6 -46 0.786 M 0.460
3-pentanol C 5H 12O 115.3 -8 0.821 5.1 0.463
2-pentanol C 5H 12O 119.0 -50 0.810 4.5 0.488
2-butanol C4H10O 99.5 – 114.7 0.808  18.1 0.506
cyclohexanol C 6H 12O 161.1 25.2 0.962 4.2 0.509
1-octanol C 8H 18O 194.4 -15 0.827 0.096 0.537
2-propanol C3H8O 82.4 -88.5 0.785 M 0.546
1-heptanol C 7H 16O 176.4 -35 0.819 0.17 0.549
i-butanol C4H10O 107.9 -108.2 0.803 8.5 0.552
1-hexanol C 6H 14O 158 -46.7 0.814 0.59 0.559
1-pentanol C 5H 12O 138.0 -78.2 0.814 2.2 0.568
acetyl acetone C5H8O2 140.4 -23 0.975 16 0.571
ethyl acetoacetate C6H10O3 180.4 -80 1.028 2.9 0.577
1-butanol C4H10O 117.6 -89.5 0.81 7.7 0. 586
benzyl alcohol C 7H 8O 205.4 -15.3 1.042 3.5 0.608
1-propanol C3H8O 97 -126 0.803 M 0.617
acetic acid C2H4O2 118 16.6 1.049 M 0.648
2-aminoethanol C2H7NO 170.9 10.5 1.018 M 0.651
ethanol  C2H6O 78.5 -114.1 0.789 M 0.654
diethylene glycol C4H10O3 245 -10 1.118 M 0.713
methanol CH4O 64.6 -98 0.791 M 0.762
ethylene glycol  C2H6O2 197 -13 1.115 M 0.790
glycerin C3H8O3 290 17.8 1.261 M 0.812
water, heavy  D2O 101.3 4 1.107 M 0.991
water H2O 100.00 0.00 0.998 M 1.000


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.