Replacing solvents in food and pharmaceutical processing with plain water could reduce environmental problems, say researchers Ed Clausen and Julie Carrier from the University of Arkansas, USA. "It has always amazed me that a chemical as toxic as hexane is used as a solvent in processing soybeans," said Clausen. "I think it has largely been a matter of using something you know works rather than trying to find a less toxic alternative." Clausen and Carrier compared their hot water extraction process with a standard chemical extraction process. They found that similar concentrations of the compounds were obtained by using both processes (www.ens.com, December 18, 2001).
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