So, I have been doing a lot of reading on laboratory and industrial extraction methods from papers and abstracts (when the assholes firewall publicly funded research). One of the things that I noted was the use of ultrasound and sonication, which was shown to both speed up the extraction process of nuts, herbs, roots and woody mass and increase the yield of desired compounds. The method of action is lysis:
"Lysis (/ˈlaɪsɪs/ LY-sis; Greek λύσις lýsis, "a loosing" from λύειν lýein, "to unbind") refers to the breaking down of the membrane of a cell, often by viral, enzymic, or osmotic (that is, "lytic" /ˈlɪtɪk/ LIT-ək) mechanisms that compromise its integrity. Cell lysis is used in laboratories to break open cells and purify or further study their contents. Lysis in the laboratory may be affected by enzymes or detergents or other chaotropic agents. Mechanical disruption of cell membranes, as by repeated freezing and thawing, sonication, pressure, or filtration may also be referred to as lysis. Many laboratory experiments are sensitive to the choice of lysis mechanism; often it is desirable to avoid mechanical shear forces that would denature or degrade sensitive macromolecules, such as proteins and DNA, and different types of detergents can yield different results. The unprocessed solution immediately after lysis but before any further extraction steps is often referred to as a crude lysate."
"Sonication is the act of applying sound energy to agitate particles in a sample, for various purposes. Ultrasonic frequencies (>20 kHz) are usually used, leading to the process also being known as ultrasonication or ultra-sonication. Sonication can be used to speed dissolution, by breaking intermolecular interactions. It is especially useful when it is not possible to stir the sample, as with NMR tubes. It may also be used to provide the energy for certain chemical reactions to proceed. Sonication can be used to remove dissolved gases from liquids (degassing) by sonicating the liquid while it is under a vacuum. This is an alternative to the freeze-pump-thaw and sparging methods."
"Ultrasonication offers great potential in the processing of liquids and slurries, by improving the mixing and chemical reactions in various applications and industries. Ultrasonication generates alternating low-pressure and high-pressure waves in liquids, leading to the formation and violent collapse of small vacuum bubbles. This phenomenon is termed cavitation and causes high speed impinging liquid jets and strong hydrodynamic shear-forces. These effects are used for the deagglomeration and milling of micrometre and nanometre-size materials as well as for the disintegration of cells or the mixing of reactants. In this aspect, ultrasonication is an alternative to high-speed mixers and agitator bead mills. Ultrasonic foils under the moving wire in a paper machine will use the shock waves from the imploding bubbles to distribute the cellulose fibres more uniformly in the produced paper web, which will make a stronger paper with more even surfaces. Furthermore, chemical reactions benefit from the free radicals created by the cavitation as well as from the energy input and the material transfer through boundary layers. For many processes, this sonochemical (see sonochemistry) effect leads to a substantial reduction in the reaction time, like in the transesterification of oil into biodiesel."
Another thing that I noted is that the researchers were performing ultrasonic extractions at temps of 40C - 60C using solvents. They are obviously not concerned about chlorophyll pickup with ethanol as we are. So my questions are:
Is anyone using ultrasound in their extraction process? This tech does not seem that it would scale well with tri-clamp gear, but I think it has some exciting possibilities for people running smaller QWET style extraction or terpene vacuum extraction.
How would ultra-cold temps of less than -50C effect the lysis process? Ice would have formed on anything water based in the material to be extracted and the ethanol would be the vehicle for cavitation and cell membrane disruption. Would the cold temp not help to shatter the cell walls for a complete extraction?
Is this a bad thing? Could it cause the ice holding the water solubles, that we do not want in our extract, to find a way to bond to the ethanol? Would this be similar to extracting at a higher temp (above freezing) in some way? Could it possible create particles that are smaller than 1 micron that would make it past filters?
Food for thought (for me)...