Modelling the Disruption of Essential Oil Glandular Trichomes with Compressed CO₂

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A theoretical model is proposed for the evaluation of the disruption efficiency of essential oils glandular trichomes (glands) with compressed CO2. The disruption of glands occurs during the fast decompression of the bed of herbaceous material. The glands are described as closed structures slightly permeable to CO2, When exposed to compressed CO2, the gas slowly penetrates the glands and dissolves in the intraglandular oil until the solubility limit is reached. During the fast decompression of the bed, the dissolved gas is desorbed from the oil phase and discharged to the bulk solvent. The inability of the glands to discharge the gas, at a rate dictated by the loss of solubility in the oil with the decompression of the bed, generates a pressure gradient across the glands that may lead to its rupture. In the present model, the excess pressure is described by an equation similar to Hagen-Poiseuilles formula for viscous flow due to a pressure gradient. The maximum pressure gradient across the glands during the fast decompression of the bed is then used to calculate the percentage of glands disrupted (efficiency of disruption) assuming a normal distribution of the bursting pressures of the glands. The model was applied to experimental results where the effects of pre- and post-expansion pressure, exposure time to pre-expansion pressure and the rate of decompression were investigated. Predictions of the model are also presented. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Supercritical Fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


  • glandular trichomes, essential oils, disruption, compressed carbon dioxide, modelling