The Industrial Projects students had the honor of attending a lecture that was lead by two academic visitors Mr. Omar AbdelRehem (Founder and CEO of Delta Aromatic) and Mr. Joaquin Lanz (General Manager of the Fragrance division of Delta Aromatic). The aim of the lecture was to widen the students' perspective in the aromatics industry as well as helping students with their Industrial Projects topic either for them to be able to integrate new ideas to the topic, or solve existing problems.
Mr. Omar started the lecture by enlightening us with background on the world of aromatics by dividing the production of aromatics into four divisions: Essential Oils, Aromatic Chemicals, Flavors and Fragrances; starting with essential oils, oils responsible for odor, and the different ways for extraction. The first way for extraction is steam distillation, which uses steam at certain pressure to extract the essential oil, however this technique could not be used for extracting all types of essential oils, this is dependent on the nature of the plant material. Some plant materials like jasmine or jonquil are too fragile for steam and that is when solvent extraction is needed. Solvent extraction uses a solvent such as petroleum or hexane to extract the essential oil, but in this case, the end product – concrete - is much different as it contains wax and fats, concrete is then mixed with alcohol if the desirable end product is absolute.
Moving on, Mr. Omar explained the differences between natural aromatic chemicals that are found in nature and synthetic aromatic chemicals that are not obtained from natural sources as well as the difference between natural flavors and artificial flavors and how they are so much alike, except that the natural flavors are more beneficial only for marketing reasons. Finally, Mr. Omar left the podium so that Mr. Joaquin Lanz would give us a detailed lecture on Flavors and Fragrances.
Mr. Lanz talked mainly about food flavorings and that flavors used in the company are a combination of natural and artificial raw materials that give a unique trait of a an edible product, where the natural ingredient comes from plant or animal origin, meanwhile the synthetics come from physical, chemical, microbiological or by enzymatic procedures.
Mr. Lanz then clarified that fragrances are any chemical compound responsible for a distinct smell, and that fragrances are used in many categories in the industry from household products to cosmetics and perfumes. We were also given samples to smell, which made the lecture more lively.