POS Bio-Sciences recently finished commissioning their newest technology in the oils processing area. The newly installed short-path distillation system (SPD) system offers POS clients a commercial scale system for the fractionation and purification of high-value ingredients – such as omega 3 fatty acids, medium chain triglycerides, flavors and fragrances, waxes, tocopherols and pesticide removal.

Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatility of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation and a physical separation technique, and not a chemical reaction.

SPD is a distillation technique that involves the components travelling a short distance, often only a few centimeters, and is normally done at reduced pressure (<0.001 mbar). This technique is often used for separation of compounds which are unstable at high temperatures (i.e. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids). The advantage is that the heating temperature can be considerably lower (at reduced pressure) than the boiling point of the liquid at standard pressure, and the distillate only has to travel a short distance before condensing.

Possible applications of SPD

  • Concentration of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Concentration of food flavors, aromas, and spice extracts (essential oils).
  • Wax distillation and processing.
  • Purification of synthetic oils and resins.
  • Fractionation of fatty acid-esters.
  • Purification of Tocopherols, Sterols, Tocotrienols.
  • Separation of extracts.
  • Separation of fatty acids, derivatives, or high boiling flavors.
  • Purification of edible oils – contaminant removal, e.g. removal of pesticides to part per billion levels.
  • Removal of residual solvents presence in the liquid food

One area of particular interest for POS is oil’s fractionation, specifically omega-3 concentration,

“In terms of omega-3s, it’s not just about refining oils, but on Fractionation, which concentrates the omega-3 level from the crude oil,” said Dr. Rick Green in a recent Nutra-Ingredient-USA article.

POS continues to anticipate new technology required to match industry trends and continues to make investments in new equipment, including over $2 million invested last year with support from various levels of government. Currently POS houses over 1000 different pieces of equipment for the bio-processing industry and they welcome the opportunity to discuss any future trends and technologies that might be relevant.

POS Bio-Sciences is a contract R&D organization. We specialize in the extraction, fractionation, modification and purification of bio-based ingredients. We work with leading industries to develop new products and expand bio-processing capacity. From ingredients to bio-products to green solutions, our team brings bench strength and brilliant solutions to help companies grow.


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