Downstream processing of curcumin extracts

Parallel to the research that is still ongoing on the extraction of curcuminoids from turmeric roots the first steps have been made into looking at the downstream processing of crude extracts. Initial results indicate that a crude extract made with ethyl acetate results in an end product with a curcuminoid purity of roughly 38%. However the product is very sticky and not easily processed. Furthermore for some applications the extract will need to be purified.


Figure 1: End products, unpurified (left) and purified (right), from a crude turmeric root extract

The first results are very promising. Further optimization is still needed to see what the overal yield of the process is and to minimize the loss of curcuminoids that occurs during the different steps. For now this protocol will be used to produce a few gram of purified product as starting material for colorant production at CoEBBE in Breda/Bergen op Zoom.

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