Extraction of linseed lipids using a supercritical CO2 extraction

Currently, síbiotech’s R&D team has embarked on active work to obtain lipid extracts from linseeds (flaxseeds) using a modern and sustainable technology -supercritical fluid extraction with carbon dioxide (CO2) to obtain fat-soluble substances rich in bioactive compounds for promoting health. In the near future, the obtained linseed lipid extract is intended to be encapsulated in soft gel capsules to supplement daily nutrition, facilitating the intake of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and other bioactive compounds.

Highly Beneficial and Health-Promoting
The name linseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) originates from Latin and means “very useful.” There are two main varieties of linseeds – brown and yellow, also known as “golden linseeds.”
Currently, scientific research describes and investigates three Omega-3 fatty acids with the greatest significance in physiological processes – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is a plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid not synthesized in the body; hence it must be obtained through diet. EPA and DHA are synthesized from ALA in the body but in small quantities. EPA and DHA are typically acquired through fish and seafood consumption and by supplementing daily nutrition with fish oil.

In a series of clinical studies, plant-based Omega-3 has been observed to possess properties that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Due to numerous scientific studies on the impact of Omega-3 fatty acids on health, linseeds have gained attention, as they have one of the highest concentrations of plant-derived Omega-3, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), compared to other plant-derived raw materials. Linseeds are pressed for oil and are widely used in various functional food products and supplements.

Up to 70% Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Linseeds contain 37-45% fatty acids, of which up to 70% are polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 and 6):
• Omega-3 or alpha-linolenic acid – up to 55% of total fatty acids (depending on the variety);
• Omega-6 or linoleic acid – approximately 17% of total fatty acids;
• Omega-9 or oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid (a primary ingredient of olive oil) – around 19% of total fatty acids.
Linseeds also contain up to 10% saturated fatty acids, such as stearic and palmitic acids.
Linseeds provide an optimal Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio of 1:0.3, crucial for health promotion. In scientific literature, the recommended ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 in daily nutrition is considered to be 1:4. However, given modern dietary habits, this ratio can reach as high as 1:20, which is undesirable and can result in various health risks.

Other Valuable Compounds
In addition to healthy fatty acids, linseeds contain tocopherols (vitamin E) – an average of 39.5 mg/100g- and polyphenols such as flavonoids and lignans. Linseeds are also a good source of microelements, particularly potassium, with levels ranging from 560 to 920 mg/100 g. They also contain phosphorus (650 mg/100 g), magnesium (350–431 mg/100 g), calcium (236–250 mg/100 g), and trace amounts of water-soluble vitamins A, B, and D.

Advantages of the supercritical CO2 extraction technology
The extraction technology for linseeds utilizes natural carbon dioxide gas (CO2), subjected to pressure and moderate temperatures, which is gentle for obtaining bioactive compounds. The key advantages of this innovative and sustainable technology are as follows:
• efficient extraction of fatty acids and fat-soluble bioactive compounds without chemical modification, preserving their natural chemical form, ensuring effective absorption in the body;
• extraction provides pure fat-soluble compounds, free from impurities, including proteins, fibres, allergens, ash, and heavy metals (as CO2 does not dissolve them);
• obtained extracts are concentrated and effective in small doses;
• due to the high-pressure environment during extraction, the lipid extracts have high microbiological purity, and the extraction process avoids exposure to oxygen, which is essential for preventing fatty acid oxidation;
• organic solvents are not used in the extraction process; CO2, after extraction, is returned to a gaseous state and separated from the final product, making this technology “solvent-free”;
• The extraction process is environmentally friendly, as CO2 is not released into the atmosphere and is collected for use in subsequent extraction cycles.

Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in collaboration opportunities or would like to receive more information: maestro@sibiotech.com