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Extraction of phytosterols from tall oil soap using selected organic solvents

Milena Rousková, Aleš Heyberger, Jan Tříska, and Miroslav Krtička

Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Rozvojová 2/135, 165 02 Prague 6, Czech Republic



Abstract: Tall oil soap as a waste product of the sulphate cellulose production process was treated by single-stage liquid-liquid extraction. The aim of this study was to compare yields of health beneficial matters contained in tall oil soap when several extraction solvents, recommended in literature, were used. Hexane, 1-methyl-4-(1-methylethenyl)-cyclohexene, 2-methylpropan-1-ol, hexan-1-ol, 4-methylpentan-2-one, 2-methoxy-2-methylpropane, and butyl ethanoate were tested. For hydrocarbons it was necessary to add a de-emulsifier into the system, which limits the formation of foams and stable emulsions. The highest yields of total phytosterols (78 %) and especially of β-sitosterol (100 %) were reached when butyl ethanoate was used. However, it was necessary to adjust pH of the treated raw material to approximately 7. The highest yields for feed where pH was not adjusted were obtained with 2-methylpropan-1-ol: 67 % of total sterols and 89 % of β-sitosterol. Disadvantages of most of the tested solvents included the formation of the undesirable solid interphase which could not be removed, partial solubility of the solvents in the water phase, their high boiling point and/or instability. These disadvantages prevent the use of these solvents in industrial applications; they also complicate the treatment of tall oil soap by liquid-liquid extraction or the regeneration of the used organic solvent.

Keywords: liquid-liquid extraction – tall oil soap – phytosterols – β-sitosterol

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-011-0077-3


Chemical Papers 65 (6) 805–812 (2011)

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