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Ultrasonic Assisted Extraction in Mushroom and Cannabis Processing

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Cannabis Events, Latest News

High amplitude sonicators are essential tools that can be found in extraction laboratories across the world. Ultrasonic assisted extraction can enable much faster extraction times, more efficient extractions, as well as higher and more consistent yields.

In mycology, ultrasonic extraction is the preferred method to help break through the tough chitin walls of the mushroom in order to fully extract bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, triterpenes, psilocybin, and other beneficial compounds. High amplitude sonicators can also be used in cannabis extraction processes such as ice water extraction, ethanol extraction, and even olive oil extractions. In these processes a gentler frequency is used in order to shake trichomes off of the plant material, this can increase yields by up to 15%. Ultrasonic assisted extraction is also very practical as it can be used with a wide range of solvents and target materials.

Benefits At a Glance

  • Increased Yields
  • More Consistent Results
  • Reduces Manual Labor
  • Safe and Easy to Operate
  • Low Maintenance and Easy to Clean

How It Works:

Sonication is a process that utilizes ultrasonic sound waves in order to agitate the particles of a given sample, both on a chemical and physical level. A high amplitude ultrasonic generator is attached to a transducer, and then to a probe. It is this probe, or horn, that then comes into contact with the target mixture. The horn oscillates, giving off ultrasonic sound waves, and a series of high/low pressure cycles is created. These rapid pressure differentials cause extreme localized heat, high pressure, and sheer forces to occur, causing tiny micro bubbles to form, and grow in size over several high/low pressure cycles, finally becoming too large and imploding.


This phenomenon is known as acoustic cavitation, or ultrasonic cavitation. When cavitation bubbles implode on the surface of solids, like plant cells, tissues, or particles, interparticle collisions and micro-jets cause surface peeling, particle breakdown, sonoporation (the perforation of cellular membranes and walls), and ultimate cell disruption. This loosening of the cellular structure allows for solvents to more effectively extract target compounds. The implosion of cavitation bubbles can also create a micro-mixing effect in liquid solutions.

What is Acoustic Cavitation

Acoustic cavitation, in simple terms, is the growth and collapse of microbubbles under the influence of an ultrasonic field, transmitted through liquids.


Benefits Of Ultrasonic Assisted Extraction In Botanical Extraction

Based on the amplitude, and the duration to which a sample is sonicated, there can be varying effects. In order to ensure optimal results, each individual process should have its own sonicator configured to the correct frequency. Once optimized, full cellular destruction is as easy as the flip of a switch. Using sonoporation to break through the though cellular walls of mushrooms is a breeze. Or in cannabis extraction, an even gentler frequency can be used, shaking the glandular trichome heads off the stalks, the same way one would shake a tree with water on its branches. This gentle shaking can increase yields anywhere from 10-15% depending on the process, while still keeping undesirable components left behind on the plant.

Key Operational Notes

Ultrasonic extraction is a very powerful laboratory tool, but it does have points of caution just like any equipment. It is always recommended to wear ear protection while operating ultrasonic machinery, the process does create a loud hissing or screeching sound that can be as great as 120 dBa even from 2 feet away. In addition to ear protection, sound enclosures are recommended to help reduce the dangers.

It is also very important to understand that only the media directly under the horn will be affected by the sonication. This area is called the Cavitation Zone and is almost always directly under the tip of the horn, in a relatively small radius. Because of this, larger batch style process will need to ensure that they have additional agitation to circulate the media across the zone of cavitation, or that it has multiple sonicating horns placed within. Another solution is to have the media flow across the horn in a flow through style process.

Across International works with cutting edge ultrasonic technology as well as the premier manufacturers in order to provide fully optimized solutions for a range of applications. From large scale, flow through, configurations used in nano emulsifications, to cannabis and mushroom extraction processes, all the way to pharmaceutical applications, we are here to assist. For more information on sonication equipment and processes don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our technical sales team.


Common Applications

  • Desulfurization
  • Homogenization
  • Cell Disruption
  • Nano-emulsifications
  • Wet Milling
  • Deagglomeration
  • Biofuel Production
  • Dispersing
  • Sonochemistry
  • Extraction
  • Degassing
  • Sterilization
  • Cleaning and stripping
  • Viscosity reduction

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