Grasas y Aceites, Vol 58, No 4 (2007)

Alternative methods for the wool wax extraction from wool scouring wastes

M. López-Mesas
Centre GTS, Unitat de Química Analítica, Departament de Química Universitat. Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

F. Carrillo

M. C. Gutiérrez

M. Crespi


Wool fibers have to be properly washed out before being processed into fabrics. This scouring process generates high pollutant wastes in two forms, a liquid phase and a solid phase. Both phases contain a large amount of the grease (wool wax) generated by the animal which may be recovered and purified to obtain lanolin, a highly valued product. To evaluate the amount of grease in such wastes, Soxhlet extraction with organic solvent is the technique more widely used in laboratories worldwide as it provides a high grease recovery although it is a time and solvent consuming technique. The present work compares alternative extraction techniques to the Soxhlet extraction (Microwave, automated Soxhlet and Supercritical Fluids) recovering 100% of the grease, reducing the time of analysis, the solvent consumption and the waste generation.


Automated Soxhlet; Microwave; Supercritical fluid extraction; Wool wax

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