Extraction of squalene from camellia oil by silver ion complexation

H. Xiao, Z. Yao*, Q. Peng, F. Ni, Y. Sun, C. X. Zhang, Z. X. Zhong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Separation of squalene, a type of terpenoid hydrocarbons with important biological properties, from camellia oil by silver ion complexation was studied. We showed that the UV-visible absorption wavelength of squalene in AgNO3-methanol solution was obviously red-shifted, and the infra-red vibration wavelength of C=C bond slightly decreased, indicating that complexation between squalene and Ag+ took place. The distributions of squalene in AgNO3 methanol solution/petroleum ether under different conditions were further investigated. We found that the fraction of squalene in AgNO3-methanol phase was enhanced with increased percentage of methanol and AgNO3 concentration and decreased extraction temperature. The distribution coefficient of squalene was up to 7.87 under optimum extraction conditions with 70% methanol (v/v), 0.6 mol/L AgNO3, reaction time of 12 h, and at the temperature of 0 °C. Furthermore, under the optimum conditions, extraction of squalene from the unsaponifiable portion of camellia oil exhibited high selectivity with a raffinate rate and a back-extraction rate of 73.9% and 72.5%, respectively. The purity of extracted squalene was 37.8%, 108 times more concentrated than that in the starting material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Camellia oil
  • Complexation
  • Distribution ratio
  • Silver nitrate
  • Squalene


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