In numerous areas of application, extraction is the more efficient, more selective and less expensive alternative compared with competing separating methods such as distillation, evaporation and membrane technology.
Extraction is defined as the process of removing a substance or several substances from another substance. The process is extremely important in a wide range of technical applications, for instance biotechnology, the pharmaceutical and food industries as well as environmental protection. Extraction is a separating process which has the advantage of low energy consumption.
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Overall, particularly gentle processes are characteristic of these “life sciences” methods. In biotechnology production installations, the process of separating the valuable substances from the biosuspension and the subsequent purification of such substances with the aid of extraction are key aspects. Sensitive substances are frequently processed in bioprocesses. Their structure and biological activity require very narrow tolerances in the medium conditions particularly with regard to the processing stage of extraction. This has to be adjusted to be brought into line with the ambient conditions. The vital process parameters in this respect are the pH value, the salt concentration and the temperature as well as the structure of the valuable substance.
Extraction has become established particularly in conjunction with the following process conditions:
The tasks of extraction cover a wide range of applications. In the field of hydrometallurgy, extraction methods are used for processing ore, recovering metals from waste sludges and for purification.