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Distillation and extraction of oil-bearing rose in Isparta, Turkey

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Published on Jan 11, 2014

Isparta, a city in the Southwestern of Turkey, is known as "Rose valley of the world" because of the advanced industrial oil-bearing rose cultivation. The oil-bearing rose (Rosa damascena Mill. f. trigintipetala Dieck) has a pink flower with 30 petals with heavy rosy scent. About 10.000 tons per year from 2500 ha of fresh rose flowers in the Rose Valley of Turkey are hand-picked in the flowering season, and then hydro-distilled to prodece rose oil and rose water, and/or solvent-extracted to produce rose concrete and rose absolute by near 20 rose oil companies having distillation/extraction factories.Turkey is the leading country that it meets over 50 percent of the world rose oil, concrete and absolute production, and total value of exports is over 15 million € in 2013. The main industrial products from oil-bearing rose are rose oil (rose otto), rose water (hydrosol), rose concrete (solid extract) and rose absolute (liquid extract) which are produced by water distillation and solvent extraction processes. Essential oil content of rose flowers is very poor and far below 1% (about 0.03-0.04%). About 3.5 tons or 1.250.000 fresh rose flowers hand-picked in the early hours during the flowering season (May and June) to produce only 1 kg rose oil after hydrodistillation with cohobation in the factory type retorts or stills). So its price is over 7.000 €/kg with a value of 2013. Even with its high price and the advent of organic synthesis, rose oil is still perhaps the most widely used essential oil in perfumery. Concrete is extacted from the fresh rose flowers by solvent extaction with n-hexane in a extactor. The concrete yield (0.3-0.4%) is nearly 10 times more than rose oil yield. 350-400 kg of flowers are needed to produce 1 kg of concrete, which explains why concrete is less expensive than the oil. The concrete is then agitated with ethyl alcohol under at -15 to -20 °C for dissolving the aromatic constituents, leaving behind the wax and other paraffinic substances. The alcohol is low-pressure evaporated, leaving behind the finished absolute. 1 kg of concrete gives over 0.6 kg of absolute, a very valuable rosy scented extarct for parfumery. This video shows distillation and extraction of the oil bearing-rose flowers at Erçetin Rose Oil Co. in Isparta city of Turkey.

Source/Literatüre: Baydar, H., 2006. Oil-bearing Rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) Cultivation and Rose Oil Industry in Turkey. Euro Cosmetics, 14: 13-17.

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