The use of Methyloxolane, a plant-based solvent, has been authorized in Europe for the production of food ingredients as a substitute for hexane, which is derived from petroleum.

The Minafin Group’s EcoXtract® brand supplies Methyloxolane solvent for the extraction of oils, vegetable proteins, and natural ingredients. It is produced from agricultural co-products such as sugarcane bagasse and does not compete with food production.

Natural oils, proteins, and flavors are used in food and feed. The current reference extraction method is based on the use of hexane, which is a petroleum-based solvent that has recently been reclassified by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) as a proven human neurotoxicant. The authorization for the use of hexane is long-standing and based on studies dating back more than 30 years, which are far below the current level of requirements of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

On the other hand, the authorized dossier for methyloxolane is based on recent studies, and was subject to a complete review by EFSA concluding that methyloxolane can be used safely for food production. Methyloxolane is the first alternative to hexane made from 100 percent plant carbon. The inclusion of Methyloxolane in the European legislation will allow the oilseeds crush and plant extract industry to develop safer and more environmentally friendly ingredients.

Methyloxolane is complementary to existing solutions, supercritical carbon dioxide, and hot ethanol extraction. Production facilities initially designed to extract with hexane can be used with minor modifications.

The Minafin Group: