From a green chemical point of view, techniques for extracting organic substances employing conventional solvents must be replaced with novel environment-friendly techniques. Dimethyl ether (DME) may be one of such alternative solvents to be used. Rice bran is a co-product of rice milling, which is rich in oil content. Theoretically, around 20-25% of the total weight of rice bran must be oily components known as rice bran oil (RBO). In the present study, liquefied DME was used as a low temperature solvent for extracting RBO. From 10 g of fully dried rice bran used in a single batch extraction with DME, ca. 0.90 g of RBO were recovered (efficiency, 9.0%). Although the efficiency of total RBO extraction by batch extraction with DME was lower than the conventional solvent extraction system using acetone, lipid-pigment complexes potentially beneficial for human health such as ferulic acid-conjugated lipids were efficiently extracted. Fatty acid compositions found in RBO prepared by DME extraction and conventional solvent extraction did not differ. Lastly, improvement of the extraction efficiency was attempted by designing a column-based flow system allowing extraction of RBO with an optimized amount of liquefied DME. By this approach, the efficiency of RBO extraction attained ca. 24% (ca. 0.24 g of RBO extracted and recovered from 1 g of dried rice bran), using 10 to 20 g of liquefied DME applied to 1 g of rice bran packed in the column-type extraction chamber.
2016 Japan Association of Solvent Extraction