An improved method for the large-scale processing of woad (Isatis tinctoria) for possible commercial production of woad indigo
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The increasing use of alternative crops has meant the introduction of new technologies to process their products. In this work, an alternative method is presented for the extraction of natural indigo from woad (Isatis tinctoria) based on a technique used to extract indigo from Indigofera spp. This method does not rely on the old fermentation procedure used throughout Northern Europe and is cheap, clean and efficient. Evolved from laboratory-based tests, it involves steeping the leaves at low pH in warm water and extracting the indigo at a higher pH, followed by ultra-filtration of the product, which is then left to air-dry. Problems encountered during the development of the technique and how they were overcome are discussed. © 1998 Silsoe Research Institute.
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