11.1. Gel extraction Aloe juice contains two fractions: an aqueous phase, called gel, and another fat-soluble: oil, with which various products are obtained, such as cosmetics, drugs, etc. The processing of the juice is done by submitting the aloe leaves to a simultaneous treatment of cutting and compression to extract the maximum volume of juice possible. Afterwards, the crude extract goes through several phases: disinfection, heating, stabilization and packaging.
11.1.1. Washing Once selected for its size and its physical conditions, the raw material is subjected to a previous treatment, that is, a washing of the leaf surface by means of a solution composed of water and an anionic surfactant agent. This cleaning is done in stainless steel tanks, manually or mechanized, purifying and reusing the washing solution by means of hydraulic pumps, where the sheets must be completely covered by the detergent to eliminate all the external dirt of the same. Then, the leaves pass through a tunnel for rinsing, being normally a rectangular concrete deposit armed with a conveyor belt inside. As the sheets advance in the belt, they are submerged in the tank, which contains a solution for rinsing the raw material composed of water and a bactericidal agent (iodine, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), as well as a pump to purify and reuse said solution. There is also another method widely used to rinse the leaves, which is based on spraying water with sprinklers to eliminate impurities and excess soap that may contain. 11.1.2. Cut To prevent contamination of the mucilaginous internal fillet with the acíbar and thus achieve a higher quality in the final product, at the exit of the washing process is used to dehull the leaves, consisting of two phases: the blunting and filleting. Both operations must be completed during the 36 hours after the collection of the leaves. Firstly, the leaf is detached on a table, manually and with the help of a knife, cutting its apex (5-10 cm) and an inch from its base to suppress these plant parts from the process, which could reduce the desired characteristics in the juice to obtain. It should be noted that the tips of aloe vera contain aloin, whose substance can also be used in another process, but should be discarded as juice if it is intended for beverages for human consumption. Then, filleting is performed, which can be manual or automatic. The first is the traditional method and is done by introducing a knife just in the area where the gel is stuck to the bark of the leaf, then removing the latter. Subsequently, said operation is repeated for the lower part, thus obtaining the gel fillet, which can be chopped into small portions. Due to the high cost that can present the previous process in labor, has introduced the automatic thread, a machine that separates the bark of the gel by blades of adjustable height. Performing an adjustment of the mechanical pressure is important so as not to break the per-cyclic cells, which contain the acíbar, when the leaves pass through the blade. On the other hand, gelcorteza separation can be facilitated by adding cellulose. The juice thus obtained is treated with active carbon to discolor it and eliminate substances that have laxative effects: aloin and anthraquinones. This has to be the case when the stabilized gel is used for drinks for human consumption. Afterwards, the resulting liquid must be filtered, sterilized and stabilized. 11.1.3. Pulping and homogenization The gel obtained is washed by water spray and then allowed to drain. The acíbar that secretes the bark when cut is completely soluble in water and can therefore be removed by rinsing. Next, the gel is pumped to the pulper (or mixer), a cylindrical container that has mechanical stirrers inside it. For the production of juice it is necessary to disperse the gel by means of the pulping machine, which does not cut or excessively crumble the fibers, facilitating its subsequent removal. Here also a preheating takes place, since the operation is carried out around 25 ° C. The pulper has a cooling system that reduces the temperature of the resulting juice. When the tank is full, leave it for 24 hours so you can decant the juice. This process should last about 20 minutes in order to prevent enzymatic browning of the gel. 11.1.4. Clarification and filtration To clarify the mucilage, a high-velocity disc clarifier centrifuge (finisher) is used, which offers good results and can even remove large bacteria. Two products are obtained from the centrifuge: natural juice and fiber (waste). At the exit of the same, the juice is transferred to tanks of rest, passing it through a filter press later to remove the vegetable fibers and purify it. 11.1.5. Sterilization and stabilization Aloe gel oxidizes and decomposes rapidly, losing much of its properties. Different investigations have described different techniques to carry out the processing of the gel in order to achieve its sterilization and stabilization. However, the most optimal results will be obtained when the leaves have been processed as they arrive at the factory, freshly cut from the plantation. This is because the degradation of the gel begins with enzymatic reactions and the growth of bacteria, once the inner part of the leaf (cut) is shown in the presence of atmospheric air. Finally, to guarantee a greater stabilization and conservation of the final product, Various methods can be applied, such as heat or cold treatments. 18.104.22.168. Cold treatments It is established that enzymes can be applied, such as glucose oxidase or catalase, to inhibit the growth of aerobic organisms in the aloe gel and, thus, sterilize it. Other cold sterilizing methods are ultraviolet irradiation, micro-filtration and ultracentrifugation, which are described below. a) Micro-filtration It is based on the use of membranes with infra-micrometric porosity, up to half a micron. Bacteria have sizes greater than 1μm. b) Ultra-centrifugation The use of clarifying centrifuges with high-speed discs generates centrifugal fields equivalent to twelve thousand times the gravitational field of the earth. These machines can separate particles as small as one micron, with a density difference of just 1%. In this process the limiting factor is the viscosity of the gel at very low temperatures, it is recommended to perform the operation at temperatures between 30-35 ° C. c) Ultraviolet radiation This is a high intensity sterilization method. Applying short periods of irradiation, it is very suitable to eliminate bacteria, pathogenic and not, without producing changes in the chemical composition of the irradiated products (gel). 22.214.171.124. Heat treatments In thermal treatments, the sterilization of the juice is achieved with pasteurization or activated charcoal. Different investigations have shown that when the gel is heated at 65 ° C for less than 15 min, its biological activity remains intact, since high temperatures for long periods of time can greatly reduce this level of activity. However, one of the most effective pasteurizing treatments to avoid the bad taste and the loss of biological activity in the gel, turns out to be the HTST method: “High Temperature Short Time”, that is, to subject the product to high temperatures, of 85-95 ° C, during a very short period of time, between one and two minutes. After pasteurization, the juice is allowed to cool to a temperature of 5 ° C or lower for 10-15 seconds. This phase proves to be essential to preserve the level of biological activity in the aloe vera gel. Said rapid cooling leads to an enzymatic and microbiological deterioration of the gel, but, on the other hand, it contributes to reducing the microbial content of the product. In all these techniques, stabilization can be achieved by the addition of preservatives and antioxidants to the gel, such as sodium benzoate, E202, citric acid and vitamin E, which make it possible to preserve the pharmacological and therapeutic properties of Aloe vera. At the end of this process, a semi-processed product is obtained: the stabilized gel, which can be used for consumption and used as an ingredient in later products. 11.2. Obtaining gel powder Another method to stabilize aloe vera gel is to reduce it to powder, which increases its shelf life. For this, it is necessary to carry out a concentration and a subsequent drying of the gel, obtained in the previous phase. 11.2.1. Concentration 126.96.36.199. Nano-filtration by membranes It is a filtration process by permeable membranes that operate under pressure, where low molecular weight solutes are retained, but the salts pass, totally or partially, through them with the filtrate. On one side of the membrane, the gel is subjected to a high pressure and at a temperature of 30-35 ° C, passing only the water and dissolved salts to the other side. This permeate is axially suppressed by the center of the membrane, then removing the concentrate from the housing containing it. 10: 1 concentrations can be obtained. 188.8.131.52. Evaporation in falling film with high vacuum The gel is heated to 30-35 ° C in a short time and then sent to the falling film evaporator, where a vacuum of 18 mbar is made. The procedure is quite fast, less than 10 s, and allows to obtain concentrations of up to 20: 1. The temperature is lower than 36 ° C, which prevents alterations in the composition of the product.
184.108.40.206. Concentration in evaporators Tube and shell evaporators, installed in three or four effects, can also be used. The operation must be done in a high vacuum: at a pressure of 3.33 kPa or less. It has an evident disadvantage: the low velocity of the mucilage within the tube system, which can produce local overheating in the product. 11.2.2. Drying 220.127.116.11. Lyophilization This is a procedure to dry the gel that involves the previous freezing of the product and the subsequent sublimation of the formed ice, without going through the liquid phase of the water, using its triple point. To sublimate the ice it is necessary to apply heat at temperatures that can reach 40 ° C. Without a doubt, it is the best drying method when you want to preserve the original properties of the product, whose components can be altered or destroyed at high temperatures. Today, there are continuous lyophilization equipment that uses vacuum pumps, which can not handle high levels of humidity in the sucked gases, being necessary to interpose a system to condense the sublimated ice, again to solid phase. The large ice banks needed to achieve this purpose work at very low freezing temperatures (up to 40 and 50 ° C). The gel thus dried then needs to be ground. 18.104.22.168. Spray drying This is a technique widely used in the agri-food industry, especially to obtain milk powder, animal and vegetable proteins, etc. It is a continuous drying process that results in the formation of a very dispersed liquid phase (small droplets) in a chamber with hot air. The drying time is very short, approximately 10 seconds, thus avoiding a heating of the product. The powder obtained is very porous, spheroidal, highly fluid and soluble, which allows the solution to be easily reconstituted. Unlike the previous process, the final product does not have to be ground. 11.3. Extraction of the acíbar From the bark of the leaf it is possible to obtain products with specific uses, such as extraction of aloin. For this reason it is important to perform a procedure to obtain the juices contained in it, concentrate them and, if necessary, dry them. The crusts are transported by a helical screw to a storage tank, waiting to be processed. Then they are crushed in a hammer mill, after which its mass is centrifuged in order to recover the acíbar, which is subjected to a process of clarification, by application of heat, and a subsequent one of concentrate. The handling of the acíbar in the transport must be done at the lowest temperature and as quickly as possible. Once the juice has been extracted, it must be refrigerated. The fibrous waste can be dried and used as boiler biomass. They can also be used in the manufacture of organic fertilizers, whose resulting substrate serves to enhance the rooting of other plants. 11.4. Storage Relative humidity and temperature are the most important environmental parameters that affect the quality of the processed product. Therefore, it is important to make a good storage and subsequent packaging. The juice is transferred to stainless steel tanks, called “launch”, where it is kept cold until the time of final packaging to be marketed. 11.5. Packaging The final packaging is conditioned by the type of product to be packaged, the destination to which the product goes, as well as by the needs and demands of the buyer. It can also become part of cosmetic products, such as creams, body gels, shampoos, etc., with containers of different volume and shape, being able to use other temporary plastic containers throughout the process. In recent years, technological evolution has even reached the marketed packaging, whose research is focused on the preservation of the properties and intangible qualities of the finished product until the moment of consumption. Some examples of the mentioned are the latest generation packaging, which incorporate silicone valves and dispensers that prevent the entry of oxygen, or those monodose of gel and extract, vacuum packed to preserve the maximum effectiveness of its active ingredients. 11.6. Quality control Quality is perhaps the most important parameter when marketing a product derived from aloe vera. This product must contain all the purity and properties that the natural plant would provide if we used it fresh. For this reason, quality must be guaranteed throughout the farmer-consumer process, that is, from the time the plant is grown to the commercialization of the final product, through processing in the processing industries. Without the guarantee that quality controls provide, The final product made with aloe vera would have no value, since it can not guarantee that said product contains all the properties of the natural plant. From the plantation, using ecological farming techniques, optimal irrigation, continuous and manual weed control, as well as qualified workers for that purpose who can also perform an adequate harvest, up to industrial processing, establishing routine controls by performing physical-chemical and bacteriological tests. At the factory, the following can be done: – Raw material controls: at the entrance of the harvest, reviewing, classifying and, if necessary, rejecting the one that does not meet the required quality parameters. – Biological controls: The entire production process must be controlled in order to guarantee the best biological conditions during all the phases that compose it, from the reception of raw material to the final packaging. – Laboratory certifications: each production must finally be subjected to exhaustive scientific tests, performed both in own laboratories and independent (outside the factory), to certify the highest requirements of safety and quality. – Ecological products: the factory must direct its production to an ecological line, for which 100% organic crops are needed. In both cases (farmer and entrepreneur), this circumstance should be certified. Each production must finally be subjected to exhaustive scientific tests, carried out both in own laboratories and independent (outside the factory), to certify the maximum requirements of safety and quality. – Ecological products: the factory must direct its production to an ecological line, for which 100% organic crops are needed. In both cases (farmer and entrepreneur), this circumstance should be certified. Each production must finally be subjected to exhaustive scientific tests, carried out both in own laboratories and independent (outside the factory), to certify the maximum requirements of safety and quality. – Ecological products: the factory must direct its production to an ecological line, for which 100% organic crops are needed. In both cases (farmer and entrepreneur), this circumstance should be certified.
Pure Aloe Vera Gel
How to make homemade aloe vera gel and what are its applications
Before preparing this aloe vera cream, it is important that we keep the leaves of the plant in water to release the aloin, which is a substance that can be toxic.
Aloe vera, also known in some parts of the world as aloe vera, is one of the most valued plants in the cosmetics industry for the many benefits it can bring to the beauty of the whole body. Therefore, it is increasingly common to use some type of aloe vera gel, like the one we teach you to prepare in this article.
This vegetable has astringent, antibacterial and moisturizing propertiesthat, when applied to the skin, favor its regeneration to keep it young and free of imperfections.
It also stands out as one of the greatest refreshing and natural healing , appropriate for the treatment of sunburn and other injuries that damage the natural structure of the skin and that lead to marks and premature aging.
Aloe vera is made up largely of water, but also involves a significant contribution of vitamins A, C and E, whose antioxidant action can inhibit oxidative damage.
These and many other reasons have made it the basic ingredient of many treatments on the market that take advantage of its benefits for aesthetic purposes. However, to take full advantage of all its qualities, the best way to use it will remain in its 100% natural state.
For this reason, below we will share the recipe for a simple homemade aloe vera gel and the applications you can give it.
How to prepare homemade aloe vera gel
Preparing aloe vera gel is very easy and, above all, useful. Although it can already be purchased in commercial presentations, it is best done in an organic way to take care of the environment and avoid chemical preservatives.
- 3 leaves of aloe vera.
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (10 ml)
- 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil (10 g)
- First, five days before preparing the gel, water the plant daily so that it is in better condition at the time of cutting.
- After the recommended time, cut three sheets to extract the product.
- When you have them ready, remove the side spines and put them in a container with water for a minimum of 24 hours; change the water every three or four hours so that all the leaves expel a substance known as aloin , which can be toxic.
- After a day, remove them from the water to extract their pulp and continue with the preparation of the gel.
- Take a knife and open each of the leaves on one side.
- Now, with the help of a spoon or spatula, remove all the gel and store it in a container.
- It incorporates lemon juice and wheat germ oil , whose function is to enhance its properties thanks to its contributions of vitamin E and other antioxidants.
- When you have everything ready in the bowl, beat the mixture at medium-high speed until you achieve a thick white cream . If you do not have a blender, you can do it with the blender.
- Finally, pour the product into an airtight glass jar and store it in the refrigerator to last longer.
- Whatever the purpose with which you use it, you just have to take the amount you consider necessary and extend it over the affected area.
- It is advisable to repeat your application about three times a week to notice the difference in a short time.
What are the applications of this aloe vera gel?
The great advantage of this natural product is that it can be used every dayfor the multiple applications it has in terms of skin care. Its nutritional properties are unique and do not generate negative effects when used topically.
There are many uses that can be made of aloe vera gel. It can be used to :
- Clean, moisturize and regenerate the skin.
- Get rid of clogged pores.
- Prevent various degrees of acne .
- Soothe irritation and inflammation.
- Diminish spots, scars and blisters.
- Avoid the formation of pimples, pimples and blackheads.
- Reduce the negative impact of the sun’s rays.
- Soothe burns .
- Prevent and attenuate stretch marks.
- Control the itching and scaling associated with seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.
- Prevent premature aging.
- Tonify and reaffirm.
- Reduce bacteria
- Treat dryness and cracking heels.
As you can see, the development of a natural aloe vera gel is not at all complicated and can be very useful in terms of the beauty of the skin. Now that you have the recipe and its various applications, you can turn it into one of the best allies to keep you radiant and beautiful.