Infinity Supercritical announces a method to clean your Supercritical CO2 Fluid Extraction pump internal moving parts and seals using ethanol, without pump head removal.
Infinity Supercritical has developed a device which connects to your liquid CO2 pump, that will clean both your pump internal moving parts, and the seals, at the same time. Ethanol is pumped (using your liquid pump) closed-loop through the pump which dissolves any botanical oil build up.
The reclaimed oil from the pump can then be recovered using a rotovap. This pump cleaning device can be used with any Cat CO2 pump. Depending on the configuration of your liquid pump, the device may also be able to be used with other industrial CO2 pumps.
The main advantage of this type of closed-loop cleaning system is that you can clean the seals in place, without removing the pump head.
Infinity Supercritical Announces Advanced Organic Method of Botanical Oil Extraction Using Compressed Air
Benefits Corporate Cannabis and Hemp Industry
Infinity Supercritical LLC, a leading manufacturer of botanical extraction equipment, announces the industry’s first organic method of oil extraction using compressed air as the solvent.
The new method involves a compressed air extraction system which is being introduced into the industry for the extraction of oil from cannabis and CBDs from hemp. The oil extract, called a concentrate, can be used in vape pens, edibles, and further processed into CBDs for medical and health purposes as tablets or capsules. The system can also be used for other botanicals, which have medicinal benefits, such as ginger, oregano, lavender, and other nutraceuticals that have a medicinal action in humans and animals, since they contain phytochemicals, and metabolites.
The system is so efficient that the process takes a few seconds, instead of hours or days, which is common in the industry now which used batch systems. In addition, the system uses only compressed air as the solvent, instead of commonly used CO2, ethanol (alcohol), or butane.
With a continuous feed system, different botanicals or varieties can be processed on-the-fly. Legacy batch systems can only process one botanical or variety at a time.
The equipment is modular and can be scaled up to any size. As a continuous feed, continuous flow process, batch systems are now obsolete. The smaller footprint results in lower initial acquisition, maintenance, and operational costs. The added benefit of a smaller continuous feed system is more efficient use of energy. No large liquid or gas storage is required, as with batch systems. Clean filtered air can be produced on-site.
This process technology can also be used in other industrial applications, such as the production of biodiesel, nutraceuticals, and algae oil extraction. The system can also be used for mixing or separating gas streams, such as separating CO2 from other gases.
Infinity Supercritical LLC develops and markets innovative botanical oil extraction systems. Emphasis is placed on developing new technology to reduce extraction time, and producing a superior oil product, maximizing extracted antioxidants, terpenes, and nutraceuticals. Industries served include cannabis, hemp, oregano, and hops.
Source: Darner, C. L. (1970). Sonic cavitation in water (No. NRL-7131). NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC.
An introduction is given to talk a little bit about water. The point being, water is quite complex and if we didn’t interact with it everyday, it’s properties compared to other liquids would be rather outstanding.
Moving past that, the point of the report is to document a way to suppress sonic cavitation in water, a problem that is of interest of many naval communities.
Originally, back in the 1700s, Euler anticipated difficulties due to the areas of low pressure caused by turbines. He saw that they could cause bubbles which lower resistance and thus thrust. Later on, we found that there was also damage to the metal turbine as well. When the steam turbine was created, these two issues arose. There was a decrease in the increase of thrust with increasing propeller shaft speed. Also, the propellers were being eaten away rather quickly. It was found that this was due to the collapsing bubbles formed due to the low- pressure areas. Indeed, pressures over 400,000 psi can be found due to cavitation.
When high-power sonar is being used, similar problems arise. Cavitation happens and efficiency drops rapidly as acoustic intensity increases. Also, there is rapid mechanical destruction of the transducer.
Pure water in this report is considered distilled water. Even after distillation, contaminates still remain. If any water is even exposed to atmosphere with no mixing, CO2 in introduced and lowers the pH to ~5.5.
There are some laboratory methods to inhibit cavitation. These include maintaining a low pressure (44 to 58 psi) or after the application and then release of pressure around 15,000 psi. Another method to inhibit cavitation is to filter micro-sized particulate or to degas the water. To investigate the degassing of the water, a large tank was built and steel was introduced to allow it to rust. A piece of wood floated at the top to stop the reintroduction of oxygen. As the iron rusted and consumed the oxygen, a sound source was put at one end and the power required to induce cavitation was recorded. As the oxygen saturation lowered (down to 35 percentage from 100), the power had to be increased.
After the oxygen saturation reached 2 percentage and the total gas content down to 67 percentage, the power required to induce cavitation still increased. The increase from just deoxygenation was around 2 fold, while after letting the water sit past this, it allowed for up to 8 fold increases in power.
It seems that resting dexoygenated water seems to lead to an increasing “strength” against cavitation, while it was not seen with “regular” water. This “resting” was found to increase the power required by up to 10 fold.
This was found to be due to hydrogen being introduced into the system through the rusting process of the steel. When the process was repeated while introducing hydrogen into the water as well, the water withstood cavitation up to 36 fold the original amount.
When investigating the cohesiveness of the “strong” water, it was found that it took 40 drops of the treated water to make 1 cubic centimeter, but only 20 drops of untreated water.
It was also found that some dilute high- molecular-weight polymer solutions help to reduce cavitation.
One such polymer, polyethylene oxide, was able to increase the cavitation resistance by up to 8 fold. This however was reversed over time, due to the fact that it continued to fall out of solution and precipitate on the glass and sound producer.
Some other ways to cause these solutions (or seen by ships navigating at sea) is through algae that exude a polysaccharide that when in the water, increases resistance to cavitation.
When these algae were added to the tank, a resistance to cavitation by up to 10 fold was found. After removing the algae and boiling off the water, a solute of 2.5 grams/liter remained. When just the compound was re- introduced, the cavitation resistance returned. Adding more solute did not change the resistance however.
Different algae seem to produce different polysaccharides, some that produce this increase in resistance of 10 fold at concentrations of 0.25 grams/liter.
The paper concludes that the deoxygenation method (which also produces hydrogen) seems to be the best method for use inside a sonar dome. The issue being that cavitation starts to occur outside the dome past the increase in resistance. Thus, the polymer produced by the algae could be used if cheap enough, since it could be slowly leaked outside the sonar dome continuously, allowing for a higher original power due to a resistance to cavitation also outside the dome.
The paper has an appendix that seems to be of interest. It goes over the physics and chemistry of water.
Surprisingly, when looking at the other hydrides of the 6th main group of elements, (H2Te, H2Se, and H2S), they produce a rather good trend for reducing boiling and freezing points. They are also all colorless, pungent, and poisonous gases. However, the extrapolated value for the boiling-freezing point for water is not only wrong, the correct values are nearly twice these values.
Another surprising quality of water is the presence of “heavy” water (deuterium oxide) which is oxygen bonded to two hydrogens, both with an extra neutron bound to the proton. This type of water is not biologically active, and has numerous different qualities. It’s in concentrations of around 150-200ppm in natural water. There is also tritium (hydrogen with two neutrons) which can also form an oxide with oxygen.
This, along with the other isotopes of oxygen, allow for a total of 18 different molecular compounds. However, most are quite low in concentrations. On top of this, there are H+ and OH- ions found in pure water.
Water can also be superheated and supercooled. These events can be seen by slowly heating or slowly cooling water free of impurities and gases. People have been able to reduce water’s temperature to -4 degrees Fahrenheit before it froze. Small mechanical bumps can shock the system into the next physical state.
Another interesting behavior is that at low temperatures, the viscosity of water decreases with increasing hydrostatic pressure, while most other fluid’s viscosity’s increase with pressure.
Possibly the most striking quality of water is it’s hydrogen bond. Due to the bend in the
molecule, the positive charges of the protons (hydrogen), and the pull from the oxygen of the electrons, a strong dipole moment is achieved. The side of the oxygen has a strong negative charge that with form a hydrogen bond with other hydrogens who have their electrons pulled.
This could be from water, or from many other molecules. This bond is what allows for the increase in the extrapolated boiling-freezing point, as each molecule of H2O is strongly attached to one another.
Ice also has some interesting qualities. Different forms of ice form under different temperatures, pressures, and other conditions. Some of these have densities that don’t float in liquid water.
Source: Dyussenov, K. M., Dyussenova, J., & Nedugov, I. (2013). The Using of Controlled Cavitation Processes in Some Engineering and Agricultural Applications. Universal Journal of Engineering Science, 1 (3), 89-94.
The article, “The Using of Controlled Cavitation Processes in Some Engineering and Agricultural Applications” is probably the worst scholarly article ever read. It’s as if someone just wrote the article in another language and then used Google Translate. That is on top of the fact that I don’t believe in any of the data. It’s on the edge of pushing water structuring psuedo science (water structuring is a real thing, but there is no real data to support that you can keep water structured without some constant influence like an electric field or ultrasonic waves.
They suggest that after an ultrasonic treatment that the water is structured differently and thus increase the yields in their plants. While there may be some real benefits, (disinfection, better mixing of metals, etc) it’s laughable to suggest that cavitation can cause nano-structuring for a lasting period of time.). If you’ve ever heard of China making fake science articles to increase publications and thus “legitimacy”, this is it.
Read with caution. The water heating part I mostly trust (besides the pH impact, they state the Venturi nozzle decreases pH by up to 15%).
Review of Publication:
Hydrodynamic and ultrasonic cavitation have wide uses from medicine, naval applications, chemical technologies, cosmetics, and more. The thermodynamics behind hydrodynamic cavitation give rise to the complex effects of cavitation. It leads to sono-luminescene, water ionization, extreme mixing, de- aeration, and structural changes in the water.
Hydrodynamic cavitation also can be used to heat water, make mixes of biodiesel and ethanol, and be used as a disinfectant.
Its use as a disinfectant and ability to nano structure water, can help in the growth of various plants, as shown later in this paper.
One way to use cavitation as a heat generator is to use a Venturi nozzle with a fragment to help mix the flow. The flow reduces in pressure as it gains fluid velocity and under goes cavitation.
The heat given off by these nozzles is evenly mixed due to the fragment and these nozzles can heat fluids with up to 98% efficiency. They also don’t require an electric or flame heat source which increases safety when in use in the preparation of fuel.
These types of heat generators perform as reliably as the motor and pump that directs the flow.
When using a Venturi nozzle to induce hydrodynamic cavitation in water being used to irrigate pine trees, there was a seen increase in their resistibility to pathogenic micro flora.
The water itself saw a decrease in conductivity from 18 to 23 percentage along with an decrease in the pH by 25 to 35 percentage.
Water then used in the growing of tomato and rose plants were then treated with a piezoeletric converter. This used ultrasonic frequencies to cause cavitation in the water. Frequencies between 20 and 50 Hz and 20 and 50 kHz were investigated.
20 kHz seemed to be the best way to treat the water.
It increased productivity of the tomato plants by up to 15 percentage and increased the root systems of the roses by up to 40 percentage.
These values correlated with an increase in the plant’s content of copper by 52 percentage, zinc by almost 70 times, tin by almost 8 times and cadmium by 3.9 times.
The 20 kHz treated water showed an increase in acidity by 1.14 to 2.01 percentage and the 50kHz saw an increase of 3.28 percentage.
These differences were attributed to the ultrasonic cavitation causing partial ionization of the water and causing molecular structuring.
There was also an increase in the how long the plants lasted under the 20kHz treatment.
It is suggested that the ultrasonic radiation can influence the physical and chemical properties of the water to some extent.
Biotechnology could also use cavitation to attack certain issues caused by hydrophilic and hydrophobic structures due to it’s high mixing.
It is suggested due to the low power consumption and reliability, that if these water treatments were taken into the field, a large increase in productivity could be seen.
The Perfect Hurricane Factory – What’s Wrong With Current Predictive Computer Historic Modeling
By G. Giese
In light of Hurricane Irma, with Jose quickly following its track, it leads one to wonder the variables at work. We know all the computer models, many based on historical data, upper level winds, upper level pressure charts, steering currents, etc. But what if there are other factors at work ?
The main constituents of a hurricane are warm water (above 27 C), Coriolis force (near equatorial spin), high relative humidity, and weak vertical wind shear (no strong winds aloft).
But what keeps them going ?
I started tracking hurricane Irma with my pilot app on my iPhone, called ForeFlight. With this app, I would put a waypoint in the middle of the eye of hurricane Irma periodically. Then I noticed something odd, as soon as hurricane Jose formed, it followed almost identically, the same path as Irma. Conventional (USA and European Models) predicted a north turn, but Jose continues to follow Irma. Were the models wrong ? What else could be effecting the track ?
Usually, when hurricanes move over seawater, they produce cold water by upwelling, which (in theory) would prevent any hurricane from following. “Less well known is the fact that the passage of a hurricane over the ocean can cause the upper ocean to cool substantially, which can influence subsequent hurricane development.”
But why, or how does CO2 effect storm development ?
To look closer, I also had to look at one of the byproducts of thunderstorms, which is static electricity (Tribo effect) which builds until a corona discharge (lightning). The atmosphere statics can alter the evaporation rate (i.e. fuel) of moisture from seawater. Even more interesting, is that static electricity can be formed by dust storms.
Where are some of the biggest dust storms which can produce static electricity ?
The large plumes of dust blowing from the Sahara Desert and into the Atlantic Ocean, coincidentally, exactly where hurricanes form. Conventional theory is that a cyclone may form from the African Easterly Jet, which is unstable.
So, in my opinion, a new hurricane (tropical cyclone) model, would incorporate CO2 concentrations, dust (from dust storms, forest fires, etc.), and electrostatics. All of which increase the potency and longevity of a hurricane. Are they more dominant than steering winds aloft ? Are they a more important factor than traditional forecasting models ?
Here is my research:
CO2: Acidic solids acquire negative charge from water vapor, while basic solids become more positive. CO2 concentration can enhance triboelectric effect, and also evaporation. “Ion partition during water vapor adsorption is the basis of the recently discovered metal electrification by adsorption of water vapor, also known as hygroelectricity.”
(Ducati, T. R. D.; Simões, L. H.; Galembeck, F.; Langmuir2010, 27, 13763.)
“Charge partition and transfer during water vapor adsorption led to the recognition of the atmosphere as a source and sink of electric charge.”
Electrostatics Tribo-Effect: Wind and vertical moisture upheaval produces tribo-effect (static electricity). Lighting in a thunderstorm is a result from moisture and ice pummeling up and down in a thunderstorm. Lighting is also found during the eruption of a volcano, from the dust friction. Sandstorms also exhibit static charges. Applying electrostatics removes water quickly and effectively, states Hoenig. With thermal evaporation, for example, “many of the water molecules that escape from the liquid go right back in.
Evaporation: What increases rate of evaporation more than temperature ? Static charge. Combine warm surface water with static charge, and you get an increased evaporation cycle. Evaporation of water vapor builds clouds, and vertical development results in thunderstorms.
“The magnetic-field effect on CO2 solubility is twice as large, from which we surmise that geomagnetic field variations modulate the carbon exchange between atmosphere and ocean. A 1% reduction in magnetic dipole moment may release up to ten times more CO2 from the surface ocean than is emitted by subaerial volcanism.”
(Magnetic effect on CO2 solubility in seawater: A possible link between geomagnetic field variations and climate Alexander Pazur1 and Michael Winklhofer2 Received 17 April 2008; revised 25 July 2008; accepted 29 July 2008; published 30 August 2008. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L16710, doi:10.1029/2008GL034288, 2008 )
Inflammatory diseases due to lifestyle changes like dietary habits can cause serious health issues like digestive ulcers, chronic gastritis, and gastric cancer.
Hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and bacteria in the digestive system can cause damage to mucous membranes which can cause the production of active oxygen species like nitrogen monoxide and anion radicals.
These active oxygen species can directly injure surrounding cells and produce peroxides and other metabolites of acids that can continue to cause more damage which overall promotes inflammation.
Antioxidants are known to suppress inflammation in rat arthritis models.
They can directly scavenge for radicals and act as electron donors for peroxidases (PODs) which helps decompose hydrogen peroxide through a catalytic reaction.
Many herbs include some antioxidant components, and oregano is one such herb.
Some active components in Oregano include rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, and various flavinoids.
All of these components can also act as substrates in the catalytic reaction for PODs.
To obtain these active components from the plant, commercial oregano leaves were ground up in a mill, added in a ethanol, and shaken at 122 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. The mixture was then centrifuged at 5000 rpm for 10 minutes. The supernatant was separated, evaporated in vacuum, and then lyophilized (frozen). The oregano extract remains.
To measure the activity of the oregano extract active components as a POD substrate, horseradish POD was added in with oregano extract and hydrogen peroxide and the decomposition was compared to a control and a positive control (phenol, which has a known strong catalytic response).
To measure antioxidant activity, the oregano extract was added in with ferric chloride and the iron-reducing activity was tracked and compared to a standard.
To test reduction of gastric inflammation, mice were give the oregano extract and stressed. After 24 hours of starvation in cold they were killed and their stomachs were examined. The amount of bleeding points were compared to a control and hydrocortisone (a known anti inflammatory agent).
Finally contact hypersensitivity was tested with and without the oregano extract to see if the extract reduced skin swelling (a form of inflammation).
This was tested through applying a compound to make an area of the mouse sensitive, then applying a compound which actively causes swelling. The extract, hydrocortisone, and a control were then added to see which helps reduced swelling.
Oregano extract performed at 60.6 percentage of the phenol as a POD substrate, suggesting it is a good electron donor for POD. This is compared to two other herb extracts, laurel and marjoram, which are known antioxidants, which performed at 28.1 and 25.8 percentage.
It performed as an antioxidant by reducing the iron compound, but not as well as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Its iron-reducing ability was roughly half of ascorbic acid.
In the mice studies, oregano extract performed similarly to the hydrocortisone at lower doses where it reduced bleeding points by 30.5 to 34.0 percentage compared to hydrocortisone’s reduction of 47.5 to 49.5 percentage. However at higher doses, hydrocortisone performed much better than oregano extract (80.0 compared to 35.0 percentage).
In the testing of the inhibition of contact hypersensitivity, the oregano extract reduced swelling by up to 47.4 percentage. The hydrocortisone reduced swelling by up to 74.7 percentage.
Mouse contact hypersensitivity is known to be suppressed by antioxidants and thus the antioxidant activity of oregano extract is suggested to be what helped with the reduction in swelling.
Peroxide levels are also known to raise in mice subjected to cold and starvation, implying that the reduction in bleeding points could be from the use of the oregano extract’s active components as a substrate for POD.
While this study implies general oregano extract can reduce gastric inflammation and act as an antioxidant, it doesn’t specify which active component of the extract is promoting these activities and more studies would need to be done to confirm which are actually active.
Mechan, A. O., Fowler, A., Seifert, N., Rieger, H., Wöhrle, T., Etheve, S., … & Aston, J. (2011). Monoamine reuptake inhibition and mood-enhancing potential of a specified oregano extract. British journal of nutrition, 105(8), 1150-1163.
Serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline (NA) are all considered monoamine neurotransmitters and play an important role in brain development and function.
To synthesize these neurotransmitters, serotonin requires the essential amino acid tryptophan, while dopamine and NA require tyrosine. The rate of synthesis is sensitive to the supply of these respective amino acids.
Neurotransmitters work through being released into the synaptic cleft following their synthesis. They then interact with post-synaptic receptor sites.
To stop their interaction with these sites, the neurotransmitters can be taken back into the pre- synaptic neuron through reuptake transporters or through enzymatic degradation with monoamine oxidase (MAO).
Thus these neurotransmitter’s activity can be increased through inhibition of MAO, or through inhibition of the reuptake transporters.
Each neurotransmitter has specific impacts on brain and behavioral functions, to start serotonin “is implicated in cardiovascular regulation, respiration and thermoregulation, as well as in circadian rhythm entrainment, the sleep–wake cycle, appetite, mood, aggression, sexual behaviour, sensorimotor reactivity, pain sensitivity and learning”.
Dopamine “is involved in locomotor activity, cognition, emotion, positive reinforcement, food intake and endocrine regulation”.
Noradrenaline “is involved in mediating attention, anxiety, arousal, food intake and learning and memory”.
With this taken in consideration, nutritional components and supplements have been shown to impact these categories in multi- faceted ways, alluding to their impact on many different types of brain function, through various neurotransmitters. Many of these nutritional components include essential oils or extracts from various plants.
One of these plants, oregano, has shown particular promise. When using a two-step supercritical fluid CO2 extraction to receive a specified range of active constituents, it was shown to have strong inhibitory activity. It was shown to inhibit reuptake of serotonin, NA, and dopamine, as well as inhibiting MAO-A enzymatic activity. This was further confirmed by showing carvacrol (CAR), the main constituent in oregano extract, to be in dose- dependent levels in mice tissue following a dosing schedule implying it’s reach into the brain.
This effect was corresponded with antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like impacts in mice.
To prepare this extract, dried oregano leaves were mechanically milled and extracted with CO2 at 1450 psi and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The overall flow was 1 pound of CO2 per pound of plant material. The solvent was removed in a secondary step at 870 psi and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
This produced an extract with a total essential oil content of 89 percentage. The components of this extract included “terpinene (0 to 2 percentage), thymol (0.2 to 0.4 percentage), 4-terpineol (0.3 to 1.5 percentage), caryophyllene (1.5 to 1.9 percentage), p-cymene (2.4 to 7.8 percentage), thymoquinone (4 to 23.2 percentage) and CAR (50 to 79.9 percentage)”.
The in-vitro (meaning “done in a petri dish”) procedures are quite long and complex, but can be summarized by using fetal calf serum cells with reagents, radioactivity, fluorescent compounds, and varying conditions to track the concentrations of neurotransmitters in the presence of the oregano extract, reuptake transporters, and MAO-A (tracked through GC/MS).
The in-vivo determinations are a little more understandable. Mice were given the oregano extract in doses and sent through various behavioral tests to track the activity of the extract. To track anti-depression activity, the mice were put into tubes filled with water that they could not escape and their behaviors were analyzed as time continued. To test anxioltic activity, or obsessive-compulsive behavior, mice in a cage were given marbles, and the total amount of marbles covered in saw dust at the end of a 15 minute interval was recorded. Also to test the anxiolytic activity, the mice were placed in a separated box with a lit and dark area and the time spent in the lit compartment was recorded.
These tests have specific behaviors to look for and standard results with certain mouse breeds to compare with the results received in the study. The study also included control groups.
To track the concentration of serotonin levels, a probe was added into a living mouse brain under anesthetic. This probe saturates with certain compounds, which is then analyzed with HPLC afterwards.
To track CAR levels, after dosing, the mice were killed while simultaneously pulling out blood and brain tissue. These samples were then tested for CAR levels.
As thymoquinone and/or CAR were increased in concentration, the levels of serotonin reuptake inhibition increased, pointing to the importance of these two compounds in serotonin activity.
In the forced swim test, there was a significant reduction in immobility in the groups given the oregano extract. Acute dosing reduced immobility by up to 24 percentage and chronic dosing reduced immobility by up to 41 percentage compared to control groups. This was close to the reference compounds 51 to 70 percentage (reference compounds include ones known to induce the sought after behavior, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication). In the marble burying test, there was a reduction of up to 73 percentage less marbles buried with the oregano extract compared to the control groups, compared to the reference compounds reduction of 93 to 98 percentage.
In the light/dark box, oregano extract increased time spent in the light portion by up
to 35 percentage compared to control groups and up to 114 percentage with the reference compounds.
All of these behavioral tests were far past significant compared to the control groups.
When looking at the levels of serotonin, there was a marked increase in brain extra cellular serotonin levels in rats given the oregano extract. This impact stops shortly after stopping the doses of oregano extract (around a day). However, when comparing to the clinical antidepressants, the influence was up to 1000-fold lower. While this isn’t extremely promising, in conjunction with the behavioral impacts, it implies that oregano extract could be used as a mood-enhancing supplement that does not display the side- effects seen with antidepressants. It also does not have a lasting impact on brain chemistry even with chronic dosing.
Delivering nutrients to plants in mechanized cultivation can be improved by utilizing methods that reduce the nutrient size, to better match plant root receptors (pores).
Making delivery of nutrients in an efficient way can reduce both water and nutrient costs.
Infinity Supercritical has been researching and developing new ways to make processing and delivering nutrients to plants more cost effective, while reducing demand for raw ingredients. This in turn, reduces infrastructure and maintenance.
While there are many ways to nourish plants in cultivation, one of the most effective and efficient, is aeroponics. A system called FogPonics was developed and improved by John Baker. The premise of the Fogponics system is to macerate nutrients by mechanical breakdown to around 1 micron which is made more efficiently delivered to plant root pores.
The nutrients and water are pumped over 1,000 psi and ejected through small nozzles, which turn the liquid stream into vapor, which resembles fog.
The system delivers nutrient-rich fog to plant roots at around 95 percent relative humidity.
While ultrasonics can be used to reduce the nutrient particle size in water, it also throws off the pH (more acidic). Reference: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a031182. pdf
In this case, we can compare acoustical (16 – 40 kHz) versus hydrodynamic cavitation.
Both will change the pH value, however the hydrodynamic cavitation is more effective, and efficient. Better yet, it’s highly tunable to your specific nutrient and water pH.
“The hydrodynamic cavitation is more energy e cient as compared to acoustic cavitation and an almost 13 times higher cavitational yield was obtained in case of hydrodynamic cavitation as compared to that in acoustic cavitation. ”
The only downside of the FogPonics system, is the high pressure 1,000+ psi pump. High pressure pumps are loud, and prone to maintenance issues, and expensive.
The alternative is using a Spinning Disc Reactor (SDR) from Infinity Supercritical, which they have developed (patented) which provides mixing, maceration, and tunable (for pH level dynamics).
The SDR is a quiet alternative, which can provide a pressurized waterflow through any lower pressure nozzle to fog the water and nutrients, while providing the benefits of hydrodynamic cavitation.
As far as plant health goes, the ambient temperature doesn’t matter for the main plant
foliage above the surface. But compared to the root structure below, the desired temperature should be within 58-68 F in the root zone. The root pores (plant mouth), is around 3 to 5 micron. So if you can provide a nutrient delivery system at or below that range, you can more efficiently deliver food to the plants.
As long as the roots have a healthy environment (around 95 percent RH with nutrients) the foliage will thrive. This can be done with roots suspended, in the enclosed environment described above.
The goal is to provide a water and nutrient delivery system, combined with a low power, silent running pump.
Not only do you get the benefits of a integrated nutrient reduction (down to 1 micro) system, but also a pressurized system with hydrodynamic cavitation, where you can select the temperature, in one simple device.
It is suggested that the FogPonics system can reduce nutrient costs, water consumption, energy, and maintenance costs anywhere from 10-35 percent.
Techniques for extraction of bioactive compounds from plant materials
Azmir, J., Zaidul, I. S. M., Rahman, M. M., Sharif, K. M., Mohamed, A., Sahena, F., … and Omar, A. K. M. (2013). Techniques for extraction of bioactive compounds from plant materials: a review. Journal of Food Engineering, 117(4), 426-436.
This review will go over bioactive compounds in plants, their classification, their extraction via conventional and non-conventional means, and bringing bioactive materials from plant to a commercial product.
The most important factors in extraction techniques are the matrix properties of the plant, solvent type, temperature, pressure, and extraction time.
Conventional methods include more traditional means of extraction using solvents solvating power with different temperatures and mechanical means of mixing, while non- conventional include other ways to increase the solvating power and reduce the amount of solvent used, usually making them more environmentally friendly and more selective.
Most bioactive compounds found in plants are secondary metabolites, which mean they don’t contribute to the overall growth and development, but are believed by the plant and evolution to help the plant survive and overcome local challenges. The simple definition is any secondary plant metabolite that elicits a pharmacological or toxicological effect in humans or animals.
Some examples of this are floral compounds that encourage or discourage certain species of fauna to interact with the plant, or possibly toxins that dissuade herbivores from eating the plant.
Almost all bioactive compounds can be placed into three main categories; terpenes and terpenoids, alkaloids, and phenolic compounds.
Conventional ways to get bioactive compounds involved passing solvents through the bed of the plant in various ways, either through evaporation and then condensation, or direct passing through. Usually this involved hot temperatures which can degrade certain molecules, low ending concentrations, and long extraction times.
To decrease extraction times, increase yields, increase purity of ending product, and being more sensitive to the bioactive compounds, non-conventional extraction methods were developed which include: ultrasound assisted extraction, enzyme-assisted extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, pulsed electric field assisted extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, and pressurized liquid extraction.
Ultrasonic waves cause a phenomenon called cavitation when traversing through liquids where bubbles are produced, grow, and then collapse. During this process the kinetic energy is turned into heat and can heat the bubbles to incredibly high temperatures and pressures till they collapse. This accelerates mass transfer and allows for more access of the solvent to cell materials in plant parts through breaking of the cell wall.
This method increases extraction efficiencies without the need of thorough mixing or hotsolvent. In most cases it leads to less solvent being used, lower energy consumption, better yields, and lower extraction times.
Enzyme-assisted extraction employs the use of enzymes to help free bioactive molecules possibly from hydrogen or hydrophobic bonding and uses enzymes like cellulase and pectinase to break the cell wall and hydrolyze structural polysaccharides and lipid bodies.
This type of extraction comes in handy when extracting fragile bioactive compounds from seeds and allow for water to be used as a solvent in certain processes that would need the higher solvating power of organic solvents.
Microwave-assisted extraction uses changing electric and magnetic field to impact polar molecules and heat them up, which increases mass transfer.
This technique allows for some selectivity in which molecules are heated and thus grabbed more by the solvent, decreases temperature gradients, and increases extraction yield of intact organic and organometallic compounds.
Pulsed-electric field extraction causes a potential through the membrane of the plant cells, which causes molecules to separate according to their charge. As they accumulate, they increase repulsion forces and can weaken the membrane to the point of breaking which increases the release of compounds from the plant matrix.
This technique allows for the release of bioactive compounds without increasing temperature at all and is chosen to increase extraction yields of highly heat sensitive compounds.
Supercritical fluids can be achieved when a compound is heated and pressurized past both it’s critical temperature and pressure and there is no specific gas/liquid properties. This means the fluid retains it’s gas-like diffusion, viscosity, and surface tension, and its liquid- like density and solvating power.
Normally, CO2 is used due to its low critical temperature (87.8 degrees F) and low critical pressure (1073.3 psi), but it does have some limitations due to it’s low polarity. This can normally be overcome by adding small amounts of a polar compound like ethanol.
Supercritical fluid extraction’s main
advantages is it’s high diffusion coefficient and low viscosity allows for high penetration into the plant matrix, the tunability of the density and thus solvating power to certain compounds, the ease of removal of the solvent via depressurization, low critical temperature (with CO2) and thus low impact on heat sensitive molecules, lower use of organic solvent, and reusability of the fluid minimizing waste.
Pressurized liquid extraction uses higher temperatures and pressures of usually organic solvents to decrease extraction times and thus decrease solvent use. It’s found to be quite effective and battles supercritical fluid extraction in the extraction of polar molecules.
Finally, some details on how we go from plant to a commercial product. First a plant species of interest in chosen through preliminary screening of traditionally used plants. This screening involves confirming the actual validity of their use for whatever physiological effect.
Next the toxicity of the plant is assessed to see if there are any side effects or other components that could cause issues with residual amounts from extraction.
Then, extraction of the plant sample and isolation of different compounds to high purity is done using the extraction techniques described above. From here biological testing is done on the individual components to find which cause the physiological response determined before. Sometimes when no clear active compound arises the combination of different compounds is tested to see if together they impart a synergistic effect.
Once an active compound or mixture is found, testing is done again first on animals and then moving to human studies to confirm the individual components affect, strength, and correct dosage for the desired effect.
Finally, after passing safety and toxicity studies as well as showing statistically significant benefits, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of industrial production is investigated to finally confirm a potential commercial product.