Essay on Cactus Extraction

Submitted By Brent-Deming
Words: 1478
Pages: 6

Acid-based Extraction of Cactus (to yield .5 - 1.5% of starting dry weight):

Ingredients (no aluminum):
- 100 - 200g powdered dry cactus
- 1 gallon of cold De-ionized (or distilled) water
- 400g of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH; Caustic Soda/Lye for unblocking drains)
- Xylene (paint thinner), stored in freezer -- between a pint and a liter/quart), check volume of mason jar
- Hydrochloric Acid (HCl/Muriatic Acid, 10% concentration) -- around 20 drops, total
- Cold Acetone -- 100% pure and anhydrous, if possible (Hardware store or Sally's)
- Cold Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA/Isopropanol) -- 99% concentration (and anhydrous, if possible)
- Magnesium Sulfate (anhydrous epsom salt) (for drying the acetone and IPA -- optional)
- Large Glass Bottle w/ cap (HDPE bottle deteriorates over time with exposure to xylene)
- Mason Jars (2 or more)
- Funnel (preferably glass or stainless steel)
- Eye Dropper/Pipette
- Large glass syring / Glass turkey baster (optional)
- Large rectangular pyrex dish
- Rubber Gloves
- Razor Blade
- Cotton
- Baking sheet
- Bandanna or fume mask (for powdering cactus and exposure to HCl fumes)
- Cloth to cover pyrex dish (optional)
- Bottle with cap (for acetone drying)
- Safety Goggles
- pH strips (optional)

Method
1. Add most of cold water to large bottle, leaving room for NaOH, powdered cactus, xylene and shaking. Wearing goggles and gloves, slowly pour NaOH into water and shake or stir until dissolved. It is now 'Basic Water' (success requires a pH of 11.5 or higher). Add 100 to 200 g of powdered cactus and mix thoroughly, let sit for an hour or as long as a few days. [started with 195g cactus, 200g lye, sat for 14hrs]
2. Avoiding fumes and wearing gloves and goggles, add at least 10% Xylene (up to a liter/quart) to the volume in the large bottle and cap it, loosening and tightening to relieve pressure. Draw a line on the bottle to indicate where the two layers are separated. Roll/shake the mixture for a minute (the more vigorously you shake it, the longer it will take to separate -- as long as two or more weeks, but the less extractions you will have to perform in the long run) and let sit for an hour, then repeat*. Let bottle sit for 24 - 48 hours or until layers have completely separated. The full amount of xylene should be obtained by the end of separation. [used 600ml xylene]
*If mixture is not separating after an hour or so, the bottle can be placed in hot water, you can add more Basic Water, and/or you can add a table salt/water solution to mixture.
3. You may use a syringe / turkey baster to remove most of Xylene from top of mixture and place in mason jar (keep xylene out of rubber turkey baster bulb). With the lid tight (to prevent fumes) put the bottle with the mixture into the freezer (other items should probably be removed from freezer). When the basic water/cactus solution is frozen, pour off top layer of Xylene into mason jar. Thaw solution and repeat as many times as necessary (avoid hot water if using glass jug). You may repeat step 2, adding more xylene to aqueous layer as many times as necessary. Afterwards, discard aqueous layer.
To remove some of the impurity before extracting with 'acid water', the xylene can be washed with deionised water with a little caustic soda added. Again the phases are separated by freezing.
4. Add approximately 4-8 drops of HCl to 1 cup (or less) of distilled water (It's better to use less acid rather than more, though if you use too little, all of the mescaline won't be converted to it's salt form, but it will be converted when you repeat this step). Slowly pour the 'acid water' into the mason jar with the Xylene and stir vigorously. Wait a minute and stir again. Wait for the layers to completely separate. Pour off as much of Xylene as you can into the large bottle. Repeat at least 5 times (probably reducing the HCl by one drop per repeated step). Place mason jar with remaining mixture (with lid on)…