Natural flavors have their sources in a wide variety of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. Flavor compounds are usually not a significant part of plants, typically comprising <1%, sometimes much less than 1%, of the plant’s total weight. Commercial production must concentrate these compounds through processes such as distillation, CO2 extraction, low temperature vacuum distillation, solvent extraction as well as filtration.
The processes utilized to produce the flavorings often yield high levels of solids, either from the source or due to the use of components of the process such as carbon or diatomaceous earth. The complexity of the compounds may result in formation of particles that appear as a haze that must be removed, or the solids may actually be soft and deformable which complicates the capture process as they can be extruded through filters. Furthermore, compatibility is often an additional factor that must be considered as many of the chemicals used in the extraction are solvent based or the flavorings themselves may be aggressive in nature, such a terpenes derived from citrus products.
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