American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;

ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


1

Extraction of Olive Oil from Olive Cake using Soxhlet Apparatus

Banat, F
1,2
*, Pal, P
1
, Jwaied, N
2
, Al-Rabadi, A
2

1
Department of Chemical Engineering, The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan
fbanat@pi.ac.ae

Abstract:
Chemical extraction of olive oil from natural and dried olive cake (obtained from Alyarmouk
press, Irbid, Jordan) using organic solvents like hexane, ethanol, petroleum ether, isopropyl
alcohol and carbon tetrachloride was carried out in a Soxhlet extractor. Olive cake samples were
dried in an oven at 70°C and 105°C for 3.5 hours before being used in the extraction experiments.
Hexane was found to be the best extracting solvent with an oil yield of 12.7%. Oil yield increased
from 10% to 16% when olive cake was soaked with aqueous sodium chloride solution for 24
hours. Sorbitan monoleate surfactant enhanced the extraction of oil. Particle size of olive cake and
solvent volume had significant effect on oil extraction.
Keyword: Olive oil, extraction, choice of solvent, particle size, solvent-to-solid ratio
1. Introduction

World production of olive oil has constantly risen over the last ten years and Mediterranean
countries account for more than 90% of all the olive oil produced in the world [1]. Olive oil is
obtaining from olive fruit a natural product containing the wide range of bioactive compounds and
key component of the traditional Mediterranean diet. The olive fruit generally contains 50% water,
20% oil, 20% carbohydrates, organic acids, pigments, phenolic compounds and minerals as rest
[2]. The oil contains high levels of typical phenolics and 70% unsaturated fatty acids which are
believed to be associated with a relatively long life and good health [3]. Olive oil is usually
extracted by either mechanical pressing or chemical extraction processes. Mechanical pressing is
used to extract oil from olives on hydraulic presses which resulted in relatively high pure oil,
though it does not extract all of the oil and left the oil residue of about 8-20 weight %. The
chemical extraction requires organic solvent for oil extraction. The most widely used procedure
for oil removing from the solid matrix remains conventional Soxhlet extraction which is straight
forward and inexpensive [4]. In this process solvent extract olive oil by extraction using organic
solvent and the oil is separated from the solvent by distillation. For solvent extraction, the oil
recovered is not extra virgin oil and results in crude olive-pomace oil. It undergoes a refining
process to eliminate impurities and substances using soda, deodorants and bleaching agents at
high temperature. The extraction of oil depends on moisture content, nature of the solvent, time of
extraction, particle size and amount of solvent [5, 6]. Hexane is extensively used for oil extraction
because of its high stability, low greasy residual effects, boiling point and low corrosiveness [7].
Jordan contains huge reserves of energy sources as olive cake. In recent years; rising
environmental awareness in the Jordanian society has brought about concerns regarding the
handling and management of the large amounts of olive cake. Under the current regulatory statutes
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


2

and disposal practices, these amounts in many cases pose a disposal problem and constitute a
threat to the country’s very limited water resources [8].
The basic objective of this research was to determine most suitable solvent for olive oil yield using
Soxhlet extractor. To study the effect of oil yield with hexane as solvent dried olive cake at two
different temperatures and pretreated olive cake with sodium chloride were studied. The effect of
surfactants on oil extraction was also touched in this work. The work extends to examine the effect
of various process parameters like extraction time, volume of solvent, and particle size.
1. Materials and Methods
1.1. Materials
All the solvents (hexane, ethanol, petroleum ether, isopropanol and carbon tetrachloride) and the
surfactants (sorbiton monoleate, sorbiton trioleate and polyethylene glycol nonylphenyl ether
(synperonic NP10)) were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich Chemie GmbH, Germany.
1.2. Methods
1.2.1. Oil extraction using different types of organic solvent
Chemical extraction of olive oil from dried olive cake at 70ºC was carried out using hexane,
ethanol, petroleum ether, isopropanol and carbon tetrachloride to determine the best solvent for
oil extraction. 250 ml of solvent and 10 gram olive cake sample was used in each experiment to
maintain a solvent-to-solid ratio of 25:1. The total extraction process was completed within one
hour. The extracted phase was then distilled to separate the oil from the solvent.
Of all the solvents, petroleum ether, ethanol and hexane were used to study the oil yield with olive
cake (dried at 70
o
C) at different intervals of time to understand the oil extraction steps involved in
the process.
1.2.2. Drying of olive cake
To establish the optimum drying conditions of olive cakes, samples were dried at 70ºC and 105ºC.
10 gram of olive cake samples was then charged to Soxhlet extractor with 250 ml of hexane as
solvent to make a solvent-to-solid ratio 25:1 for 1 hour.
1.2.3. Pretreatment of olive cake with sodium chloride
Dried olive cakes were soaked in aqueous solution of sodium chloride with varying concentrations
(0.1M, 0.5M, 2M and 4M) for 24 hours and then filtered, rinsed with distilled water and dried in
an oven for 3.5 hours at 70°C. 10 gram of each soaked sample was taken and charged to a Soxhlet
extractor with hexane as a solvent for 1 hour. The extracted phase was then distilled to separate
the oil from hexane.
1.2.4. Effect of surfactants
To investigate the effect of surfactants (sorbitane monoleate, sorbitane trioleate and synperonic
NP10) on oil yield, 1.5 ml of surfactant was added to hexane solution. The solvent-to-solid ratio
was maintained at 25:1 for 1 hour of extraction time. The extraction processes was followed by
simple distillation processes to recover the oil.
2. Results and Discussions
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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Soxhlet extraction is a classical extraction technique to remove oil from biomass particle. It is
important to study the choice of solvent, extraction time and other process parameters for
measuring the % yield of the extracted oil.
The % yield of olive oil (y) is obtained as:
y = (Mass of olive oil extracted)*100/ (Initial weight of olive cake) (1)
2.1. Choice of solvents
The selection of solvent for oil extraction from olive cake is an important factor. The solvent
should have good extraction capacity, low viscosity and higher solubility with oil. Proper
penetration of the solvent inside the olive cake is necessary to extract oil effectively with nearly
equal polarity of the solvent and the oil. Generally, organic solvents possess all the above criteria
and are used for oil extraction since long years. Hexane, ethanol, petroleum ether, isopropanol and
carbon tetrachloride were used as organic solvents in this study to find the best solvent for oil
extraction. It was observed that amongst all the organic solvents used, hexane is the best extracting
solvent with a 10.6% yield as shown in Figure1.

Figure1. Effect of solvents on the yield of olive oil
Figure 2 shows the effect of extraction time over the oil yield on the Soxhlet extractor for three
different solvents (petroleum ether, ethanol and hexane). It was observed that oil yield increased
as time progressed and reached maximum after 1 hour. There are two steps involved in the oil
extraction from biomass. The first step involving the extraction of oil from the external surface of
the particle (solubility-controlled phase) is a very fast physical process while the second step
involving the extraction of oil from the inner particle (diffusion-controlled phase) is comparatively
slower [9]. Further increase in extraction time approached the oil extraction curve to a limiting
value of oil yield. This is an indication that the extraction process had almost reached completion.
For the extraction of oil from olive cake it was found that the extraction completion time was 1
hour.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Hexane Ethanol Petroleum
ether
Isopropanol Carbon
tetrachloride
%

y
i
e
l
d
Solvents
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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Figure2. Effect of Extraction time on the yield of oil using different types of solvents
2.2. Effect of drying olive cake
Drying caused removal of the moisture content from the olive cake samples and thus the resistance
to oil extraction was reduced. Also, drying before extraction helps rupture the olive cake walls
and thus the solvent can more readily dissolve into the oil. It was observed that by increasing the
drying temperature from 70ºC to 105ºC all the moisture content from olive cake was removed and
the yield of oil was increased from 10.6% to 12.7 % as compared to 7.5% from natural olive cake
(Figure3).

Figure3. Effect of drying of olive cake on the yield of olive oil

0
5
10
15
0 15 30 45 60
%

y
i
e
l
d
Extraction time, minute
Petroleum ether
Ethanol
Hexane
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Natural Dried at 70°C Dried at 105°C
%

y
i
e
l
d
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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2.3. Effect of pretreatment with sodium chloride
Pretreatment of olive cake with aqueous sodium chloride solution had a significant effect on the
yield of oil as shown in Figure4. The oil yield increases with the increase of sodium chloride
concentration and reached a maximum of 16% at 2 (M) sodium chloride solutions. At lower
concentrations, sodium chloride had a strong tendency to rupture the olive cake cells which causes
easier mass transfer of oil and thus extraction of oil increases. A further increase of sodium
chloride concentration leads to decrease in the oil yield. The main reasons postulated are that
during osmotic processing to rupture the biomass cell, the rate of diffusion of solvent depends on
the concentration of the osmotic solution [10].


Figure 4. Effect of pretreatment with sodium chloride on olive oil yield

2.4. Effect of adding surfactants to hexane
Different non-ionic surfactants (sorbiton monoleate, sorbiton trioleate and synperonic NP10) were
used to investigate the effect of surfactant on yield of olive oil. It was observed that the percentage
yield was improved by adding various surfactants, especially to hexane with sorbitan monoleate.
The mobilization of oil molecules depends on the tendency of surfactants to reduce the capillary
forces (i.e. surface tensions) in olive cake and oil tends to adhere to the structure due to surface
tension. The effect of surfactants is to allow the aqueous phase to wet the solid surface
preferentially. The reduction in surface tension of surfactant solution can displace oil molecules
trapped in olive cake that cannot be displaced by pure hexane. As shown in Figure5, increasing
the sorbitan monoleate concentration increases the olive oil yield significantly.
13.5
14.5
15.5
16.5
0 1 2 3 4 5
%

y
i
e
l
d
Salt concentration, molar
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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Figure 5. Effect of surfactant concentration on the yield of oil

2.5. Effect of solvent-to-solid ratio
The effect of solvent-to-solid ratio on the oil extraction from olive cake is shown in Figure6. The
solvent-to-solid ratio was varied from 5:1 to 25:1 on olive oil extraction studies with 0.855 mm
particle size. As the solvent-to-solid ratio increased from 5:1 to 25:1 the oil yield also increased
from 5.4% to 15.6%. With further increase in solvent-to-solid ratio above 25:1 the oil yield
remains constant for olive oil extraction process. In an earlier work [11] much less olive oil yield
(9.4%) was obtained for solvent-to-solid ratio of 4:1 from olive cake using hexane as solvent.

Figure 6. Effect of solvent-to-solid ratio on oil yield

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02
%

y
i
e
l
d
Surfactant concentration, molar
0
5
10
15
20
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
%

y
i
e
l
d
,

Solvent-to-soild ratio, ml/gram
American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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2.6. Effect of Particle Size
Particle size is an important parameter in extraction of oil process. Smaller the size of solid
particles, the greater the interfacial area between the solid and the liquid and therefore increases
the oil extraction yield [12]. The maximum olive oil extraction of 18.6% was obtained at 0.212
mm of olive cake having solvent-to-solid ratio of 20:1 for 1 hour. It was observed that oil
extraction yield was gradually increased from 15.3% to 18.6% with decrease in particle size from
0.855 mm to 0.212 mm. Different researchers have studied the effect of particle size for the
extraction of oil from different biomass [13, 14] and it has been observed that oil yield increases
with decrease in particle size. As the particle size increases it is difficult for the solvent to reach
core of the biomass to leach oil and the oil yield decreases.

Figure7. Effect of particle size on the yield of oil
3. Conclusion
Different solvents were used to observe the yield of olive oil using Soxhlet apparatus. Hexane was
found to be the best extracting solvent with an oil yield of 7.5 % from natural olive cake and 12.7
% from dried samples. Oil yield can be increased by soaking olive cake samples with aqueous
sodium chloride solution with optimum concentration of 2.0 M with 16% oil yield. Extraction of
oil using surfactant solution like sorbitan monoleate with hexane enhanced the extraction process
at high concentrations of surfactant (0.019 molar). Solvent-to-solid ratio has significant effect on
oil yield and with 20:1 hexane-to-olive cake ratio maximum yield of oil was obtained. As the
particle size of the olive cake decreases oil yield increases.
4. Acknowledgement
The work has been carried out at Jordan University of Science and Technology.

American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies;
ISSN (online): 2326-6589; ISSN (print): 2326-6570
Volume 1, Issue 4, June 2013


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