When it comes to solvent-based extractions, there are a ton of solvents on the market that may be effective. Ethanol is an increasingly popular option due to its safety, efficiency, and ease of attainability. The most ideal ethanol grade for extraction purposes is 99-100% (200 proof) undenatured ethyl alcohol. This is due to its ability to safely extract a full-spectrum concentrate from the desired plant while remaining safe for use and for consumption in edible products.
Can Other Grades Be Used?
Another common grade is 95% ethanol or 190 proof. This is the highest proof of ethyl alcohol that can be made with only distillation—200 proof requires extra advanced processing to be manufactured. This makes the slightly lower grade option more feasible for some, as it is more easily accessible. It can also be considered safer than 200 proof, because its higher water content may reduce combustion hazards during extraction. However, the low water content of 99% grade ethanol actually helps prevent unwanted byproducts, like chlorophyll, from becoming trapped in the finished substance. This ability to avoid undesirables also ensures that the final substance contains no unsafe levels of residual compounds. Thanks to these traits, 200 proof is the safest and best grade of ethanol for extraction.
Why is Ethanol Used for Extraction?
This type of alcohol is desirable for botanical extraction due to several properties:
>It is GRAS by the FDA
>It is easily accessible
>It produces consistent results
>Low water concentration=high quality product
>It is completely miscible with water without separating
>It preserves plant tissues and RNA during extraction
In addition, its title of GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, by the FDA means that it is completely safe for human consumption—it can be used for extractions to produce edibles and oils.
Is it Safe?
Using ethanol for extraction is extremely safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regards ethyl alcohol as a class 3 solvent. Class 3 is the lowest ranking that a solvent can obtain—this means that it is not of high risk to human health and that no acute or chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity has occurred.
This safety ranking only applies to the solvent itself, in pure form. In other words, minute amounts that may be leftover in an extracted substance do not pose more danger to the user than the extracted product itself.
Need to Buy Ethanol for Extraction?
The Extraction Grade Solvents team has every solvent you could possibly need in eco-friendly bulk packaging. Contact us here to speak with a team member today!