Cinnamon Distillery Unit

101 Toxic Food Ingredients

101 Toxic Food Ingredients

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Source: Anon, 1997.

Source: Anon, 1997.

The cleanliness and levels of dust, mould and other pathogenic organisms are important aspects of the production of cinnamon quills, quillings, featherings and chips. Consumers directly use them in most of the food formulations. It has been reported that compounds such as cinnamic aldehyde and eugenol found in them inhibit the growth of microorganisms (Bullernan et al, 1977). The general requirements for cinnamon bark are given in Table 5.1.

Products Based on Cinnamon Bark and Leaf

Cinnamon quills and remnants of bark are prepared into various other forms, such as small pieces of quills 7—15 cm long or as a powder. For most baked products, cinnamon is used in powdered form. Finely ground cinnamon quills are the best, however, flavour and odour characteristics become less than those of quills. The essential oil content of the powder is less compared to the bark due to losses during the process of grinding. Adulteration of cinnamon powder with lower grade bark is commonly practiced (Llewellyn et al, 1981).

Airtight containers made of glass or wooden boxes with an outer wrapping of polythene are generally acceptable as packaging for cinnamon products. However, a shelf-life of over two years is generally not recommended for cinnamon bark or their products since flavour and odour characteristics tend to change with time.

Cinnamon oils

In the world trade, the oils from the cinnamon species are classified as cinnamon oil, cassia oil and camphora oil, according to the place of origin. The true cinnamon oils come from Sri Lanka and they are accordingly classified as "Cinnamon Leaf Oil" (ISO 3524). Cassia oils come from China, Taiwan and Burma and are called Chinese, Taiwanese or Burmese cassia oils, respectively. Unlike the Sri Lankan cinnamon oils where a category for both bark and leaf oil exists, only one category exists in cassia oils. This is because during distillation cassia bark, leaves and twigs are distilled together to obtain one category of oil. Camphor oil, although chemically different from either cinnamon or cassia oils, is obtained from distilling the bark and wood of the Cinnamomum camphora tree. China and Japan are the main producers of this oil.

Cinnamon bark oil

Cinnamon bark oil is one of the expensive essential oils in the world market. The price or value of bark oils, largely depend on the material used to distill the oil. Even though quills are the best to obtain quality bark oil, quills are not always used for the distillation. The quillings when fresh provide oil of equal quality and are usually employed in distillation as the preferred raw material on grounds of economy as well as quality.

Like most of the other essential oils, cinnamon oils are also produced by hydrodistillation (Wijesekera, 1989). Hydro-distillation implies water-cum-steam distillation. In Sri Lanka traditional distillation units are built on the hydro distillation principle (Fig. 5.6). To obtain commercial cinnamon bark oil, broken pieces of quills, quillings, pieces of inner bark from twigs and twisted shoots are distilled.



5.6 Traditional cinnamon bark still.

Cinnamon Bark Distillery Sri Lanka
Figure 5.7 Modern cinnamon bark still.

Hydro-distillation units are heated by direct firing. Bark or other parts of the inner bark are placed in the still and direct fire is introduced. The distillate produced from the still body is first passed through a pre-cooler and then through a large static water condenser. In Sri Lanka a large number of existing cinnamon oil distillation units are still of traditional design. Although present day distillers introduced several modifications to modernise the design (Fig. 5.7), they have not made any significant differences to the system. These old stills are still adequate to distill the oil from the bark. They are made out of copper or tin lined copper or steel and hold around 50 kg of bark. The still body is built over a brick or mortar hearth and direct fire is introduced from the bottom. Cinnamon bark is placed in the still, which is partly filled with water. The condenser is a static copper tubing immersed in a large water tank. Recently a precooler has been introduced in between the still body and static condenser. The precooler cools the distillate to about 70 °C when it is sent into the main condenser. All the time the precooler is kept cold by cold water. Certain distillers have a battery of still bodies with a common static water condenser. Five to six copper, aluminium or stainless steel Florentine vessels in a cascade arrangement are placed to collect the distillate. As cinnamon oils are heavier than water, condensed oils collect at the bottom of vessels. Loading and unloading of the bark is done manually. The time taken to distill a batch of 40—50 kg of bark is around four to five hours and a yield of 0.5—0.7% of oil on dry weight basis is obtained (Anon, 1993).

Cinnamon bark oil is graded according to its cinnamic aldehyde content (CS 185, 1972).

Distillation Equipment Percolator
Figure 5.8 Diagram of a traditional cinnamon leaf oil distillation unit. Cinnamon leaf oil

Leaf oil distillations are normally carried out in large distillation vessels (200—500 kg) (Fig. 5.8). Cinnamon leaves are obtained as a by-product of the cinnamon industry. When the shoots are harvested for bark, the leaves and twigs are trimmed in the field. Before distilling the leaf oil, the trimmed leaves are allowed to remain in the field for three to four days. Traditional leaf oil distillation units consist of a wooden still body with a copper goose neck lid. The condensing system is similar to the bark oil-distilling unit. The steam is generated in a separate kettle like external boiler. The condensed distillate is collected in a series of Florentine vessels (Fig. 5.8). Due to the low solubility of leaf oil in water it turns milky white in colour. Oil separated water is kept stored for days before complete separation of oil from the water. Since leaf oil is heavier than water, oil collects at the bottom of the Florentine vessel. Due to oxidation and to reactions with copper or steel vessels, the oil turns usually dark brown in colour. It takes about six to seven hrs to distill one batch of leaf, normally a yield of 1.0% oil on dry weight basis is obtained. After months of operation, a dark resinous material is found in condenser tubes. This is removed by burning condenser tubes in open fire. Cinnamon leaf oil is graded according to the eugenol content (CS 184, 1972).

Supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) of cinnamon

SCFE is a versatile tool for addressing the disadvantages of the conventional extraction technologies of essential oils and oleoresins. In this process the ground spice is brought into contact with a supercritical solvent at a relatively high pressure ranging from 60—300 bar at a temperature 35—70 °C. The supercritical solvent, after getting enriched with the solute, is passed through a micrometer valve or pressure reducing valve, where the pressure on the separator side is much less and the temperature much lower due to the adiabatic expansion of the supercritical solvent. This results in lower solubility of the solute leading to the separation of the solute from the solvent. Once the material is separated the gas is compressed back to extract the material

(Tiwari, 1989). CO2 is the most commonly employed SCF. CO2 is available freely, it is cheap, non-flammable, non-toxic and non-corrosive. It behaves either as a polar or non-polar solvent depending on pressure and temperature employed. CO2 is liquid below its critical point (31.2 °C, 7.38 milli pascal pressure) and above that it exists as a super critical fluid. The technical advantages of using SCFE for spices were studied by Udayasankar (1989).

Coarsely ground cinnamon bark is extracted with supercritical CO2 using pressures of 300, 400, 500 and 600 bar. The yield is around 1.4% as compared to steam distilled (0.5—0.8%). No significant differences were reported sensorily between the SCF extract and steam distilled oil and extracts (Pruthi, 2001). L CO2 extract of powdered bark is a mobile oil without the dark coloured waxes and resins normally encountered with the bark oleoresin prepared with chemical organic solvent. The CO2 selective extract is more soluble in foods, while the resinous compounds have a slight fixing effect on the flavour components of cinnamon and cassia bark extracts. However, the SCFE process is not practiced for commercial cinnamon or cassia oleoresin production because the process is very costly and the product does not differ much in quality from the solvent extracted product.

Cinnamon oleoresin

Oleoresins are solvent extracts of spices that contain the volatile oil, non-volatile resinous material and the active ingredient that characterises the spice as hot or pungent when such an ingredient is present. The solvents commonly used for the preparation of the oleoresins are acetone, ether, ethanol, propanol or methylene chloride. Ethanol was at one time the preferred solvent but is no longer used due to its high cost. Acetone is now the most commonly used solvent for oleoresin production. In solvent extraction the selected solvent is allowed to percolate down through coarsely ground spice which is loaded in a percolator. The bottom drain of the percolator is kept open for the escape of air. When all the material is soaked the bottom drain is closed and sufficient contact time is given to reach the solutes into the solvent. After the contact time, the extract, called "micella", is drained and collected.

For oleoresin production either the Soxhlet extraction method or the batch counter current extraction method (CCE) is industrially practiced. In the Soxhlet method the solvent is allowed to percolate through the bed of material several times, which involves continuous heating of the extract. In the CCE method, which is very widely used, the powdered spice is packed in to a series of extractors and extracted with a suitable selected solvent. The solvent moves from extractor to extractor and the dilute extract is allowed to percolate through the spice. The concentrated extract obtained first from each extractor is withdrawn for solvent removal in the production of oleoresin.

The micelle obtained from the extractor is distilled to get the finished product. Most of the solvent (90—95%) present in the micella is recovered by normal atmospheric pressure distillation, while the remaining solvent is taken off by distillation under reduced pressure. The trace amounts of solvent are finally removed by either the azeotropic or extractive distillation method using an innocuous solvent like ethyl alcohol. Alternatively, bubbling nitrogen into the thick viscous material is carried out to drive away the residual solvent. The maximum permitted residual limits for some of the solvents are 30 ppm for acetone and chlorinated solvents, 50 ppm for methyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol and 25 ppm for hexane (CFR, 1995). After distillation the oleoresin is stored in suitable containers such as S.S. (stainless steel) drums or epoxy coated HDPE (high density polyethylene) containers.

Pharmaceutical preparations

The following preparations utilising cinnamon are listed in pharmacopoeias such as the British Pharmacopoeia (BPC) the Indian Pharmacopoeia (IPC) and the Argentinean Pharmacopoeia (AP).

Compound cinnamon powder (BPC) Distilled cinnamon powder (BPC) Concentrated cinnamon water (BPC) Tincture of cinnamon (BPC) Compound tincture of cinnamon (TPC) Aromatic chalk mixture (IPC) Ammoniated quinine and cinnamon elixir (BPC) Cinnamon spirit (BPC) Cinnamon syrup (AP)

Cinnamon Standards and Specifications

Details of Indian and international standards laid down for Sri Lankan cinnamon products are given in Annex 5.1. The Indian standards cover cinnamon (whole) and the ISO specifications cover cinnamon whole and cinnamon powder (Sri Lankan cinnamon, Seychelles cinnamon), in addition to their storage, sampling and testing. Annex 5.2 gives the safety regulations for cassia leaf oil and cinnamon bark oil. Annex 5.3, provides the cleanliness specifications prescribed by ASTA, ESA and the honest trading practices of Germany.


Anonymous (1977) Sri Lanka Standards, SLS 81 Part 1 and Part 2. Specification for Cinnamon. Sri Lanka standards-Specifications for cinnamon oil:

• CS 184 — Specification for cinnamon leaf oil

• CS 185 — Specification for cinnamon bark oil

Anonymous (1993) Proceedings of a Workshop on the Technological Aspects of the Production and Processing of Essential Oils in Sri Lanka, Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon. Bullernan, L.B., Lieu, F.Y. and Seier, S.A. (1977) Inhibition of growth and aflatoxin production by cinnamon and clove oils, cinnamic aldehyde and eugenol. J. FoodSci., 42, 1107—1108. CFR (1995) Code of Federal Regulations, 21, CFR 173.2, Washington, USA.

International Standard Organization Standards (ISO):

ISO 3524 — Cinnamon Leaf oil

ISO 6538 - Cassia Leaf Oil

ISO 6539 - Cinnamon specification

ISO/R 928 - Spices determination of water insoluble ash

ISO/R 930 - Spices - determination of acid insoluble ash

ISO/R 939 - Spices - determination of moisture content

Llewellyn, G.C., Burkett, M.L. and Eardie, T. (1981) Potential mould growth, aflatoxin production and antimycotic activity of selected Natural spices and Herbs.

Pruthi, J.S. (2001) Advances in Super-Critical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) Technology of Spices -A global overview and future R&D needs. Beverage & Food World, Jan. 2001, pp. 44-55.

Tiwari, K.K. (1989) Technological aspects of supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE). In Trends in Food Science and Technology, AFSTI/CFTRI, Mysore, pp. 59-70.

Udayasankar, K. (1989) Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of spices: The Technical advantages. Proc. Recent Trends and Development of Post Harvest Technologies for Spices, CFTRI, Mysore, pp. 56-78.

Wijesekera, R.O.B. (1989) Practical Manual on the Essential oils Industry - UNIDO, Vienna.

Annex 5.1

Indian Standard (1S 4811: 1992) Cinnamon Whole-Specification (First Revision)


This standard prescribes the requirements for whole cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum Bercht. & Presl.), for use as a spice and in condiments (syn. Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume). This standard does not cover the requirements for cinnamon powder.


The Indian Standards listed below are necessary adjuncts to this standard: IS No. Title

1070: 1992 Reagent grade water — Specification (third revision)

1797: 1985 Methods of test for spices and condiments (second revision)

13145: 1991 Spices and condiments - Methods of sampling



The long compound rolls of cinnamon bark measuring up to 1m in length.


The breakages during grading and transportation and small pieces of bark left after the preparation of quills.


The bark obtained from thick branches and stems, trimmings of the cut shoots, shavings of the outer and inner barks and odd pieces of outer bark.


The Cinnamon bark shall have four grades. The designations of the grades and their requirements are given in Table 5A.1.



The cinnamon shall consist of layers of dried pieces of the inner bark of branches and of young shoots from Cinnamomum verum Bercht. & Presl. syn C. zeylanicum, which are obtained on removal of the cork and the cortical parenchyma from whole bark. The thickness of the bark shall range from 0.2 to 1.0 mm. It shall be free from insect damage.

Flavour or taste and aroma

Cinnamon, whole, shall have a fresh aroma and the delicate and sweet flavours characteristic of the spice. The material shall be free from foreign odour including mustiness.

Freedom from moulds, insects, etc

The cinnamon, whole, shall be free from living insects and moulds and practically free from dead insects, insect fragments and rodent contamination visible to the naked eye (corrected, if necessary, for abnormal vision), with the aid of magnification (not exceeding 10 X).

Extraneous matter

The proportion of extraneous matter like dust, dirt, stones, earth, chaff, stem, straw and outer bark of the shoots of the cinnamon plant shall not exceed the limits prescribed in Table 5A.2 for the relevant grades, when determined in accordance with the method given in 4 of IS 1797: 1985.

Table 5A.1 Grade designation of cinnamon bark and their requirements












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  • leonie
    Is 1070:1992 reagent water?
    8 years ago

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