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Extraction process of terpene compounds

Domain Health and wellbeing

Technology Green chemistry processes


Terpene compounds, the odoriferous constituents of plants, are used for pharmaceutic, cosmetic and perfumery applications.

The new process of terpene compounds extraction uses a green and GRAS solvent, the Ethyl lactate, and allows to retrieve compounds of interest by precipitation, rather than by distillation.

Challenges of current methods

  • They require the use of solvents such as hexane or dichloromethane that are toxic for health, non-renewable and incur significant reprocessing costs since they are classified as pollutants.
  • They need a distillation involving long time heating to remove the extraction solvent, which can be detrimental to the compounds of interest.


Ethyl Lactate is :

  • Safe: no toxicity during extraction process vs hexane or dichloromethane, not carcinogenic, safe for the skin
  • Green: 100% biodegradable and renewable, not pollutant
  • Organic : can be used as food additive, is compatible with organic labeled products
  • A good penetrant into vegetal cells : maximizes the extraction of compounds


The extraction process with Ethyl Lactate :

  • Offers good yield with good specificity : extraction of terpene compounds on a large scale while keeping an extract enriched in compounds of interest
  • Preserves compounds of interest
  • Is more economic: less reprocessing costs, less processing time
  • Can be used to extract compounds from both fresh and dry material




Molecular biology, Synthetic biology, Heterologous expression, Engineering of biosynthetic pathways

BORDEAUX University


Patent : WO2018091480







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