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I recently watched a video on extracting cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon using dichloromethane as a solvent. I would like to attempt the process. However, I would prefer not to use haloalkanes because of the health risks. Would ethyl acetate be a suitable replacement solvent for dichloromethane in extracting cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon oil?

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  • $\begingroup$ You are wrong to generalise about the health risks of haloalkanes. dichloromethane is pretty safe by the standards of most laboratory chemicals. $\endgroup$ – matt_black May 29 '16 at 22:09
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Yes, ethyl acetate can be used to isolate cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon oil, though there are better non-haloalkane options. In a study that aimed to optimize the extraction of cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon powder, it was found that from methanol, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and water, methanol was the most efficient. The exact method used in the study was:

Collection of plant material: Bark of cinnamon was collected from a local market at Visakhapatnam, AP. The bark was cleaned and dried under sunlight for $24\ \mathrm{h}$. The dried bark was powdered and used as a raw material and stored in an air tight container. Cinnamon powder was sieved by using different particle sizes ranging from 354 to 125 microns.

Preparation of the extract: Cinnamon powder ($2\ \mathrm{g}$) was added with ethanol ($25\%$) and methanol ($25\%$) in different flasks and the volume was made $50\ \mathrm{mL}$. The solution was soaked for $1\ \mathrm{d}$ and $3\ \mathrm{d}$ respectively. After the soaking time, the solution was filtered using Whatman No.1 filter paper and the filtrate solution was heated to $78^\circ \mathrm{C}$ and $65^\circ \mathrm{C}$ and made up to $50\ \mathrm{mL}$ with distilled water and hexane and incubated for $2\ \mathrm{h}$.

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