CO2 Supercritical and Subcritical Extracts
CO2s With Standardized Actives | Fragrance and Perfume Test Strips
We are pleased to offer a large and growing selection of superior quality, certified organic and conventional CO2 Supercritical and Subcritical Extracts that are well suited for use within aromatherapy, personal care and cosmetic applications.
CO2 Extracts, also known as Carbon Dioxide Extracts, CO2 Extracts or simply CO2s, are extracted using pressurized carbon dioxide as a solvent. Using equipment specifically designed for CO2 extraction, carbon dioxide is carefully pressurized to become a safe and effective solvent that enables extraction of all of the desirable constituents present in the botanical material without the risk of heat degradation or exposure to potentially toxic solvents. Once the extraction is complete, the carbon dioxide is allowed to return to its natural gaseous state, leaving behind only the pure extract.
CO2 Extracts are classified into two primary categories: CO2 Supercritical Extracts and CO2 Subcritical Extracts.
CO2 Supercritical Extracts
To product CO2 supercritical extracts, carbon dioxide is carefully pressurized and converted into what is known as a supercritical state. When carbon dioxide is in a supercritical state, it is not considered to be a liquid or a gas.
CO2 Total Extracts:
CO2 Total Extracts are produced using CO2 supercritical extraction. They are typically extracted at higher pressures than are CO2 Select Extracts (described below). CO2 Total Extracts generally contain both volatile and non-volatile CO2-soluble components of the botanical. Depending on the plant part used, the aromatics, heavier waxes, fatty acids, resins and color compounds may be present in the extract. CO2 Total Extracts typically consist of molecules ranging between C5 to C60. CO2 Total Extracts are generally thicker in consistency than are CO2 Select Extracts. However, CO2 Total Extracts are soluble in lipophilic fluids such as essential oils and vegetable oils. Due to their viscosity, some CO2 Total Extracts may need gentle warming.
CO2 Select Extracts:
CO2 Select Extracts are CO2 Supercritical Extracts that are generally extracted at lower pressures than are CO2 Total Extracts. Select Extracts typically contain the more volatile CO2-soluble components with molecules consisting of molecules ranging between C5 to C25. The heavier waxes, resins, and color compounds are generally not present in CO2 Selects. These extracts somewhat resemble steam distilled essential oils in composition and beneficial applications, however, they typically offer more volatile components that cannot be extracted using steam distillation.
CO2 Subcritical Extracts
The CO2 subscritical extraction process is similar to that of the supercritical extraction process except that the temperature and/or pressure used intentionally does not permit the carbon dioxide to reach the supercritical phase. CO2 subcritical extraction typically extracts the most lightweight aromatic molecules that have carbon structures ranging between C5 to C22. Essential Oils typically consist of aromatic molecules ranging in size from C5 to C20. Of all the classifications of CO2 Extracts, CO2 Subcritical Extracts most closely resemble the consistency and aroma of essential oils. However, CO2 Subcritical Extracts tend to be aromatically superior to their essential oil counterparts.
CO2 Extract Benefits:
[Source: Mark Webb, Course: CO2 Extracts: The How, What, Where, When & Why. v1.3 - v1.6. 2017-2019.]
Basing your assessment of an aromatic strictly by how it smells out of the bottle can be problematic. When you inhale the oil directly from the bottle, the thin bottle neck can prevent the aroma from fully divulging its complexity and its full palette of aromatic notes.
Fragrance and Perfume Test Strips are ideally suited for evaluating the aroma of essential oils, CO2 extracts, absolutes, fragrance oils and other aromatics. They're also wonderful for evaluating blends and fragrances that you create for personal care or aromatherapy formulations.