In the botanical extract and CBD industry, manufacturers employ a robust assortment of filter media to carry out the color remediation process.
Color remediation columns (CRC), offer incredible value, effectively and efficiently removing undesirable compounds such as pigments, contaminants, carotenoids, and chlorophyll from the oil. CRC remediation can transform an impure and visually unappealing oil into one that is superior in aesthetics, color, consistency, and flavor.
Processors and manufacturers interested in producing a superior product at the right price point are often faced with budget challenges. Knowing how much to spend on filter media versus how much they can charge for a final product is always on the producers minds.
In this guide we explore the various types of CRC filter media used by the industry. Then, we will discuss which is best for improving the appearance, quality, consistency, aroma, and flavor of your oils and extracts.
Choosing the right filter media is the key to a great end product.
What Are the Different Types of CRC Filter Media?
As part of the color remediation process, various types of specialized filtration media are packed into columns designed to filter the raw oil. The end results should be a product that meets the intended needs of the producer and/or market.
Filter media is stationary. Each pass of the oil/extract removes various impurities, undesirable compounds, pigments, and more! This results in a superior final product.
CRC media is available in a wide range of colors, consistencies. and absorptive capabilities. This includes various powders, particulates, or beads.
Each type has its own unique set of pros and cons, ranging from ease of implementation, to improved yield, time to completion, and cost. Adding to the complexity, is the fact that several CRC filtering mediums can be combined. A combination of filter medias can aid in enhancing purification efforts. This type of filtration is referred to as a ‘layered’ approach.
Popular Types of CRC Filter Media Include:
- Activated Charcoal
- Activated Alumina
- Silica Gel
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Activated Magnesium Silicate
- Activated Bentonite Clay
- Degumming Enzyme
- Activated Bleaching Earth
Knowledge of the properties each CRC filter media possesses is useful in determining the best option for your facility.
Commonly referred to as activated carbon, activated charcoal is an effective CRC filtration media. This media can reliably assist with improving flavor profiles, removing unwanted compounds, and achieving a more desirable color.
Chemically activated with phosphoric acid, undesired compounds attract to and bind with carbon, removing them from the final product.
- Cost-effective solution
- Easily accessible and available
- Large surface area to size ratio
- Effectively removes unwanted flavors
- Improves color
- Removes unwanted off-flavors and other undesirables
- Requires frequent replacement
- Is not capable of removing some types of contaminants
- Slower filtration means slower production time
- Is known to absorb active compounds, thus reducing yield
- Potential to reduce the potency of the finished product if used incorrectly
Activated Bentonite Clay
Known as T-5, activated bentonite clay is commonly employed for the remediation of pesticides from botanical extraction oils. Typically used as a top layer in CRC filtration, activated bentonite clay is capable of producing high-clarity extracts by decolorizing oils. As a naturally-occurring absorbent, T-5 has a neutral pH, and will not leave residual traces of its use in the final product.
- Cost-effective in large-scale extraction labs
- Highly efficient at removing colors
- Neutral pH
- Leaves behind no trace of residuals
- Longer filtration time
- Preparation may be cumbersome and/or inefficient
- Known to cause respiratory damage and distress if inhaled
Along with bentonite clay, silica gel is used as a stationary phase in chromatography. This gel is known to effectively absorb a broad range of undesirable substances. This includes but is not limited to chlorophyll, carotenoids, and water-soluble impurities such as pigments. Silica gel is ideal for fast flow rate processes and non-polar solvent refinement.
- Highly capable of removing polar impurities and undesirable colors
- Ideal for rapid-flow rate systems
- Infrequent replacement (longevity)
- Known to absorb active compounds, reducing potency
- Necessitates the use of additional media to improve purification
- May cause respiratory damage if inhaled
Featuring a crumbly-soft texture, diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock that is naturally occurring, requiring no further processing from its natural state. Its porous nature, and fine white powder consistency, makes it an effective decolorizer and CRC filtration media to consider.
- Naturally occurring (environmentally friendly)
- Ideal for filter beds
- Capable of working well with fast flow systems
- Will not clog
- Efficient at removing impurities and unwanted colors
- Is known to be messy, requiring careful handling or added cleanup
- Use requires specialized safety equipment
- May cause respiratory damage if inhaled
Also known as aluminum oxide, activated alumina is made under high temperatures as aluminum hydroxide is dehydrated. The end result is activated alumina. This absorbent is a versatile CRC filtration media routinely used in chromatography. Activated alumina is primarily employed to remove polarized compounds, fats and colors, particularly yellow and red pigments.
- Stable media with a high crush resistance
- Useful in pulling out moisture
- Chemical attraction aids in filtering out certain contaminants
- Good for color remediation, and is particularly good at removing reds and yellows
- Effective at removing fats and polarized compounds
- Does not leave behind residuals in the final product
- No degradation under high temperature or pressure
- Has a short lifespan, requiring more frequent replacement (added cost)
- Requires specialized disposal procedures
- Often requires pH adjustment
Activated Magnesium Silicate
Known by industry professionals as MagSil-PR, activated magnesium silicate is a powerful deodorizer and color remediation media. It is capable of removing pesticides and pigments while enhancing the clarity of botanical oils.
- Ideal for removing polar, water-soluble substances
- Quick and efficient remediation
- Able to effectively remove colors and pesticides
- Able to remove lipids and fats
- Works well with fast flow rate systems
- Is costlier than other types of CRC filtration media
- Requires the use of additional media (layered approach) for optimal filtration
Activated Bleaching Clay
Known in the industry as T-41, activated bleaching clay is a form of activated bentonite clay. Commonly used in CRC filtration, this media is often used in the purification of botanical oils, for the removal of odors and pesticide remediation. Of note, is that activated bleaching clay comprises around 10% activated carbon.
- Good at removing colors
- Good at removing pesticides, especially when combined with activated magnesium silicate
- More costly than other filtration media
- Usually requires layering of other filtration media for best results
Used primarily to break down triglycerides, sugar lipids and phospholipids (plant gums), degumming enzyme is a phospholipase powder commonly used to enhance purification efforts.
- Known to improve the efficiency of other CRC media
- An affordable addition to filtration efforts
- Efficient at removing plant gums
- Low setup and maintenance requirements
- May require an adjustment of pH for optimal results
- Requires temperatures around 40º C for best results
- Works best when combined/layered with other filtration media
AFS Filters and CRC Filtration Media
If you’re still uncertain about what filtration media is best for your operations, you’re not alone. AFS products were designed and engineered around the concept of making CRC filtration both easy to use and readily available.
Its implementation solutions for CRC filtration is uniquely tailored to the botanical extraction industry. AFS offers an elegant solution that is easily implementable and results in a superior product with every run.
AFS has taken the guesswork out of selecting the ideal CRC filtration media or how to layer individual media to achieve desired results. Its pre-engineered formulations have been battle-tested in the lab to produce unparalleled final products free from unpleasant colors, aroma, and undesirable compounds.
Light CRC Filtration Media Formulation
Ideal for high-end input materials and those materials requiring ‘light’ cleaning. Featuring a patent-pending prepacked design and disposable filter cartridges, these filters can be easily used by anyone at your company. This means there is no need for specialized knowledge.
Medium CRC Filtration Media Formulation
Medium CRC filters are a favored remediation column for botanical extraction. The blend of media used in this product is tailored for general lightening and filtration of extracted products.
Heavy CRC Filtration Media Formulation
Engineered with a filtration media capable of handling the toughest extraction jobs, this product is jam-packed with the largest amount of active extraction media. Heavy CRC Filtration Media is ideal for exceptionally dark oils needing lightening or better clarity.
Pesticide (P+) Filtration Media
Utilizing a medium amount of active extraction ingredients, these filters are ideal for removing dangerous pesticides from botanical extracts and oils. P+ filtration media aids in the removal of heavy metals as well.
Final Thoughts On Choosing the Best CRC Filtration Media
Choosing the right CRC filtration media for the job is paramount to producing a superior product. The ideal outcome is an oil that is not only visually appealing, but potent and impactful as well. Each type of filtration media has its own unique set of pros and cons, making them ideal for different applications, needs, and budgets.
Often, filtration media is layered in order to achieve optimal results, adding complexity to your decision when evaluating options. AFS has taken the guesswork out of CRC filtration media. We offer pre-packaged filters utilizing a variety of proprietary blends. Each blend of filtration media is engineered to superiorly remediate botanical oils and extracts. Contact us today to learn more about which CRC filter is right for you!