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Influence of operational conditions on the drying process of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf.) on quality aspects of the production of essential oil

Grant number: 16/25172-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 28, 2018
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal researcher:Gustavo Nakamura Alves Vieira
Grantee:Gabriela Cunha Bonilha
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil


Essential oils are substances obtained from plants undergoing a hydrodistillation or steam distillation process. These are products used, for example, in foods and hygiene products, given their aromatic characteristics. Some oils also have therapeutic properties. Before the process of obtaining essential oil, the plants are usually subjected to drying, aiming to reduce water activity, consequently, reducing production losses due to biological contamination. However, some variations in the characteristics of the essential oil, caused by the drying processes, are inevitable. Therefore, it is necessary to conciliate two processes to optimize the production of essential oil. For this reason, this research objective is to analyze some of the factors that may influence in obtaining essential oil such as drying temperature, drying time, type of drying (natural or forced convection inside the drying chamber) and time of the hydrodistillation process. The plant chosen for this analysis was the lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf.), considering its economic importance and ease of production. Statistical analyzes will be performed aiming to optimize variable conditions related to oil quality and its process of production (productivity of the hydrodistillation process and the concentration of the main components of the essential oil). It is expected to be found an optimal condition within the chosen range, using the model obtained from the statistical analysis. The optimal condition will then be verified experimentally. (AU)

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