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Preparative and scaled‐up separation of high‐purity α‐linolenic acid from perilla seed oil by conventional and pH‐zone refining counter current chromatography

Han, Tian, Yang, Guang, Cao, Xueli, Li, Haoze, Pei, Hairun, Zhang, Zhijun
Journal of separation science 2019 v.42 no.14 pp. 2360-2370
acetic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, ammonium hydroxide, byproducts, countercurrent chromatography, free fatty acids, heptane, hexane, human health, linoleic acid, methanol, oleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, refining, seed oils, solvents
α‐Linolenic acid is an essential omega‐3 fatty acid needed for human health. However, the isolation of high‐purity α‐linolenic acid from plant resources is challenging. The preparative separation methods of α‐linolenic acid by both conventional and pH‐zone refining counter current chromatography were firstly established in this work. The successful separation of α‐linolenic acid by conventional counter current chromatography was achieved by the optimized solvent system n‐heptane/methanol/ water/acetic acid (10:9:1:0.04, v/v), producing 466 mg of 98.98% α‐linolenic acid from 900 mg free fatty acid sample prepared from perilla seed oil with linoleic acid and oleic acid as by‐products. The scaled‐up separation in 45× is efficient without loss of resolution and extension of separation time. The separation of α‐linolenic acid by pH‐zone refining counter current chromatography was also satisfactory by the solvent system n‐hexane/methanol/water (10:5:5, v/v) and the optimized concentration of trifluoroacetic acid 30 mM and NH₄OH 10 mM. The separation can be scaled up in 180× producing 9676.7 mg of 92.79% α‐linolenic acid from 18 000 mg free fatty acid sample. pH‐zone refining counter current chromatography exhibits a great advantage over conventional counter current chromatography with 20× sample loading capacity on the same column.