The present work deals with modeling the kinetics of essential oils extraction from plant materials by water and steam distillation. The experimental data were obtained by studying the hydrodistillation kinetics of essential oil from juniper berries. The literature data on the kinetics of essential oils hydrodistillation from different plant materials were also included into the modeling. A physical model based on simultaneous washing and diffusion of essential oil from plant materials were developed to describe the kinetics of essential oils hydrodistillation, and two other simpler models were derived from this physical model assuming either instantaneous washing followed by diffusion or diffusion with no washing (i.e. the first-order kinetics). The main goal was to compare these models and suggest the optimum ones for water and steam distillation and for different plant materials. All three models described well the experimental kinetic data on water distillation irrespective of the type of distillation equipment and its scale, the type of plant materials and the operational conditions. The most applicable one is the model involving simultaneous washing and diffusion of the essential oil. However, this model was generally inapplicable for steam distillation of essential oils, except for juniper berries. For this hydrodistillation technique, the pseudo first-order model was shown to be the best one. In a few cases, a variation of the essential oil yield with time was observed to be sigmoidal and was modeled by the Boltzmann sigmoid function.

Reference: Milojevic, S. Ž., et al. (2013). “Modeling the kinetics of essential oil hydrodistillation from plant materials.” Hemijska industrija 67(5): 843-859

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