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Extraction: the process that achieves maximum concentration, purity and quality.

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    Extraction: the process that achieves maximum concentration, purity and quality.

    Extraction is a fundamental process in the production of food, food supplements and medicines.

    As expert biotechnologists in the study of mushrooms, in this article we will focus on the process of extracting the active biomolecules from our strains and the species we produce (Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, etc.) to make our supplements, the purest mushroom-based supplements currently available on the market.


    This extraction process determines the concentration of active ingredients and the quality and purity of the supplement. In the following lines we explain the differences between aqueous, hydroalcoholic, dual and supercritical extraction; and we talk about new proprietary extraction methods such as Hifas Green Extraction Technology®.


    In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, extraction is used to obtain active compounds from plants, roots, berries, pure fungi, etc. Did you know that the active ingredient in aspirin was originally obtained from willow bark extract? In fact, many of the active ingredients synthesised today originate from a natural extract.


    For years we have been improving and refining how our mushroom extracts perform best and which natural active ingredients we can concentrate the most. Today, our ingredients already have an identity of their own. 

    They are called MIB (Mico-Inmuno-Biotics) extracts and are obtained by our sustainable extraction system Hifas Green Extraction Technocology®. Although we will talk about this later, the highlights are: it reduces energy consumption, allows the use of alternative solvents and renewable natural products, and ensures that the extract is of premium quality.


    At Hifas da Terra (HdT) we are experts in obtaining high quality extracts from 100% pure organic mushrooms. 23 years ago we started selecting strains from different origins in order to obtain the best mushroom cultivars. 


    Thanks to research and innovation, we have specialised in mushroom extraction and biomolecule analysis. Today we are the only European company that produces extracts in Spain with 360º control of the product, from the selection of the most suitable mushroom strain based on its composition to the selection of the most suitable extraction process to guarantee the maximum purity and premium quality of our extracts.


    Traditional medicine has been using mushrooms for thousands of years. At Hifas da Terra we reveal why to use one species or another based on what has already been demonstrated today about their compounds. Through our products we offer the full potency of the extract because we know how to determine and concentrate these compounds with the highest possible quality standards.


    In general, food supplements, whether in the form of syrup or capsules, are products that can supplement the diet (they are not substitutes) by providing substances such as vitamins, minerals, probiotics and other active biomolecules. 


    If we focus on mushrooms, this heterogeneous group of substances includes beta-glucans, terpenes, ergosterol, etc., which are naturally present in Reishi, Shiitake, Chaga and Cordyceps, among other well-known species.


    As mentioned above, there are different extraction methods and the choice of one or the other will depend on the knowledge of the substance to be extracted and the expected quality of the final product.


    Aqueous extraction uses water as a solvent to extract the compounds of interest. Aqueous extracts are obtained by extracting a sample with water. Thus, these extracts are ideal for the production of food supplements due to the lack of toxicity. 


    In addition, aqueous extracts have a more pleasant taste and can be easily mixed with other ingredients to produce supplements. 


    However, aqueous extracts may be less effective in extracting some active biomolecules, as some of them are soluble in organic solvents and not in water.


    At Hifas da Terra we used this type of low-temperature extraction on many species as standard for years because, as demonstrated in the analyses collected from each batch, it guaranteed the standardised presence of beta-glucans. Today we still use this method, but it is not the only one, as our research has shown how to improve the quality of the by-product obtained by combining different extraction methods and even developing our own.


    Hydroalcoholic extraction uses a mixture of water and an alcohol as a solvent (usually ethanol) to extract the compounds of interest. This method is efficient in the extraction of both water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds, and is also safe for the environment and human health.


    Water-alcohol extracts are obtained by extracting a sample with a mixture of water and alcohol. The presence of the latter disappears in the final extract due to the very nature of the process. In other words, even if a small part of alcohol is used in the process, it disappears completely in the resulting extract. 


    Like aqueous extracts, they are ideal for the production of food supplements: they have a more pleasant taste and can be easily mixed with other ingredients. 


    This type of extraction has also been and is used at Hifas da Terra as we have shown that some of the bioactive substances analysed are obtained in greater quantity and purity using this system (e.g. the terpenes present in Reishi).


    This type of extraction separation method is more novel than the previous ones. It uses CO2 as the green solvent and the parameters of temperature and pressure are essential to obtain a pure, high-quality extract containing a significant amount of the bioactive substance of the selected fungus.


    To understand the double extraction, let us think that the selected solvent passes through a column of dried mushroom carpophore at a specific temperature, ground to an optimised particle size to improve extraction. The solvent passage is carried out twice, which increases the extract yield per carpophore to be extracted, reducing the waste generated. 

    At Hifas da Terra we have taken a significant step forward in this field by proposing a more efficient extraction method than dual extraction. Our biotechnologists have designed and implemented a proprietary extraction process at Hifas, protected under industrial secrecy, in which we obtain the maximum concentration of each bioactive substance and where the extraction method is decisive, but it is not the only differentiating parameter.


    At Hifas da Terra we started our research into new extraction methods thanks to the work of our R&D team. These beginnings can be found in the article Sequential extraction of Hericium erinaceus using green solvents, published in 2015 in the journal LWT- Food Science, of the Swiss Society of Food Science and Technology (SGLWT/SOSSTA).


    This evidence focused on the use of ‘green technologies’ (cleaner and more environmentally friendly) in the extraction process, as well as further research and testing of our products led to what is now known as Hifas Green Extraction Technology® and is the unique and efficient extraction process (patent pending) in which a safe, pure and high quality extract is guaranteed from a unique process in which energy consumption is reduced, alternative solvents and renewable natural products are used.


    • Hifas da Terra selects autochthonous mushroom strains with a differentiated composition that are produced in compostable substrates.
    • To obtain extracts, water and renewable plant resources are used as alternative solvents and energy consumption is minimised.
    • We contribute to the circular economy by transforming the waste resulting from the extraction processes into new products for the forestry industry, among others.
    • HdT produces soft (semi-solid) extracts for its liquid formulations, reducing the dehydration part of the extracts when they are to be used in liquid form.
    • Our extracts are natural, non-denatured and biodegradable and are free of toxic substances.

    The know-how of our extraction processes is transformed into high-quality products, from single-species nutraceuticals such as Mico-Rei 100% pure organic extract (solid, in capsules) to our specific synergy formulas in which we combine pure extracts of several species to achieve better results (HIFAS-Detox).


    MIBs extracts come from exclusive Galician strains from the Hifas® Mycotherapy Bank, one of the largest fungal strain banks in Europe.  


    We already know that using a specific strain is essential because, as with probiotics, the use of a studied and specific strain gives us the guarantee of proven activity and safety.

    Unlike other mushroom-based supplements, at Hifas da Terra:

    • we select the most suitable strain for each product
    • we monitor the mushroom production processes with 4.0 technologies
    • we design and carry out a unique extraction process for each fungus
    • we carry out analytical checks, before and after the extraction process

    We also provide details of the bioactive substances, qualitative and quantitative, on the labels of our products. This is therefore essential for us as it has been shown that many products do not contain what they promise.


    As we have seen above, the extraction of active biomolecules is essential for the production of food supplements and pharmaceuticals. Liquid, aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts are the most commonly used extraction methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of extraction method will depend on the specific characteristics of the fungus to be extracted, as well as the active biomolecules to be concentrated for their activity.


    Hifas da Terra, thanks to its R+D+i team and all the know-how acquired over the years, has developed one of the most revolutionary and efficient sustainable extraction systems currently available to harness all the power that lies in the nature of the fungus: Hifas Green Extraction Technology®.


    This system guarantees premium quality and concentration of the active ingredients but also uses natural and responsible solvents, thus contributing to the elimination of waste from the production process and to excellence in the production of food supplements.





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