WO2019041017A1 – March 7, 2019 – METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PASTEURIZING AND DEHYDRATING MARIJUANA

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Inventors :

DURANCE, Timothy D. - 3491 West 38th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia V6N 2X8; SANDBERG, Gary - 3980 Boundary Road, Chilliwack, British Columbia V2R 5J4; FU, Jun - 1168 Riverside Dr., Port Coquitlam, British Columbia V3B 8B3; ZHANG, Guopeng - 33-2738 158 Street, Surrey, British Columbia V3Z 3K3

Owner :

ENWAVE CORPORATION

Application Number :

WOCA17051025

Document Number :

WO2019041017A1

Priority Date :

August 30, 2017

Filing Date :

August 30, 2017

Date of Grant/ Publication :

March 7, 2019

Class :

A61L2 / 12; A61L2 / 02; F26B17 / 02; F26B7 / 00; A23B7 / 02; A23B7 / 015; A61K31 / 352; A61K36 / 185

Abstract

A method and apparatus for pasteurizing and drying marijuana plant materials using a microwave-vacuum chamber. The pasteurizing and drying are carried out with no use of ionizing radiation and with rapid drying. Pasteurization is done at a temperature and for a time period that are sufficient to reduce microorganisms to an acceptably low level, while not significantly reducing the psychoactive compounds in the material. In the process, the pressure inside a vacuum chamber is reduced to a first pressure less than atmospheric. The material is maintained in the vacuum chamber at the first pressure at a pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the material with microwave radiation. The pressure is then reduced to a second pressure lower than the first pressure and the material is maintained in the vacuum chamber at the second pressure for a time period at a dehydrating temperature lower than the pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the material with microwave radiation. The pasteurizing and dehydrating steps can be done in the reverse order.

Claim(s)

1. A method of pasteurizing and dehydrating marijuana plant material, comprising the steps of: (a) loading the marijuana plant material into a vacuum chamber; (b) reducing pressure inside the vacuum chamber to a first pressure less than atmospheric; (c) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the vacuum chamber at the first pressure for a first time period at a pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation; (d) reducing the pressure in the vacuum chamber after step (c) to a second pressure lower than the first pressure; (e) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the vacuum chamber at the second pressure for a second time period at a dehydrating temperature lower than the pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation to dehydrate it; and (f) unloading the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material from the vacuum chamber.;
2. A method of pasteurizing and dehydrating marijuana plant material, comprising the steps of; (a) reducing pressure inside a first vacuum chamber to a first pressure less than atmospheric; (b) loading the marijuana plant material into the first vacuum chamber; (c) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the first vacuum chamber at the first pressure for a first time period at a pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation; (d) unloading the pasteurized marijuana plant material from the first vacuum chamber; (e) reducing pressure in a second vacuum chamber to a second pressure lower than the first pressure; (f) loading the pasteurized marijuana plant material into the second vacuum chamber; (g) maintaining the pasteurized marijuana plant material in the second vacuum chamber at the second pressure for a second time period at a dehydrating temperature lower than the pasteurizing temperature while irradiating the pasteurized marijuana plant material with microwave radiation to dehydrate it; and (h) unloading the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material from the second vacuum chamber.;
3. A method according to claim 2, wherein the marijuana plant material is moved through the first vacuum chamber from an input end to an output end during step (c).;
4. A method according to claim 2 or 3, wherein the pasteurized marijuana plant material is moved through the second vacuum chamber from an input end to an output end during step (e).;
5. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the first pressure is in the range of 150 to 400 Torr.;
6. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the first pressure is in the range of 180 to 300 Torr.;
7. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the first time period is in the range of 3 to 12 minutes.;
8. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the first time period is in the range of 3 to 10 minutes.;
9. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the first time period is in the range of 7 to 10 minutes.;
10. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 60 to 95°C.;
11. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 62 to 88°C.;
12. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 70 to 80°C, alternatively in the range of 65 to 80°C.;
13. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the second pressure is in the range of 10 to 60 Torr.;
14. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the second pressure is in the range of 20 to 60 Torr.;
15. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the second pressure is in the range of 25 to 40 Torr.;
16. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the second time period is in the range of 20 to 30 minutes.;
17. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the second time period is in the range of 22 to 27 minutes.;
18. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the second time period is in the range of 15 to 25 minutes.;
19. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 18, wherein the dehydrating temperature is in the range of 40 to 60°C.;
20. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 19, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a moisture content in the range of 8 to 14 wt.%;
claim 21: 21. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 20, wherein the method reduces bacterial numbers to a total plate count? 50,000 cfu/g, total yeast and mold? 500 cfu/g, and BTGN < 100 cfu/g.; claim 22: 22. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 20, wherein the method reduces bacterial numbers by at least 1.5 log.; claim 23: 23. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a total plate count of less than 270 cfu/g.; claim 24: 24. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a total plate count of less than 10 cfu/g.; claim 25: 25. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 24, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a yeast and mold count of less than 100 cfu/g.; claim 26: 26. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 24, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a yeast and mold count of less than 0 cfu/g.; claim 27: 27. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 26, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a BTGN count of less than 100 cfu/g.; claim 28: 28. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 26, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a BTGN count of less than 10 cfu/g.; claim 29: 29. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 28, wherein the method reduces terpene content of the marijuana plant material by not more than 35%.; claim 30: 30. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 29, wherein the method reduces THC content of the marijuana plant material by not more than 5%.; claim 31: 31. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 29, wherein the pasteurized and dehydrated marijuana plant material has a THC content equal to the THC content of the original marijuana plant material.; claim 32: 32. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 31 , further comprising the step of covering the marijuana plant material with a microwave-transparent perforated cover during the first time period.; claim 33: 33. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 32, wherein the marijuana plant material comprises marijuana flower buds.; claim 34: 34. A method according to any one of claims 1 to 32, wherein the marijuana plant material comprises marijuana leaves or stems.; claim 35: 35. A method of dehydrating and pasteurizing marijuana plant material, comprising the steps of: (a) loading the marijuana plant material into a vacuum chamber; (b) reducing pressure inside the vacuum chamber to a first pressure less than atmospheric; (c) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the vacuum chamber at the first pressure for a first time period at a dehydrating temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation to dehydrate it; (d) increasing the pressure in the vacuum chamber after step (c) to a second pressure higher than the first pressure; (e) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the vacuum chamber at the second pressure for a second time period at a pasteurizing temperature higher than the dehydrating temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation; and (f) unloading the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material from the vacuum chamber.; claim 36: 36. A method of dehydrating and pasteurizing marijuana plant material, comprising the steps of: (a) reducing pressure inside a first vacuum chamber to a first pressure less than atmospheric; (b) loading the marijuana plant material into the first vacuum chamber; (c) maintaining the marijuana plant material in the first vacuum chamber at the first pressure for a first time period at a dehydrating temperature while irradiating the marijuana plant material with microwave radiation to dehydrate it; (d) unloading the dehydrated marijuana plant material from the first vacuum chamber; (e) reducing pressure in a second vacuum chamber to a second pressure higher than the first pressure; (f) loading the dehydrated marijuana plant material into the second vacuum chamber; (g) maintaining the dehydrated marijuana plant material in the second vacuum chamber at the second pressure for a second time period at a pasteurizing temperature higher than the dehydrating temperature while irradiating the dehydrated marijuana plant material with microwave radiation; and (h) unloading the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material from the second vacuum chamber.; claim 37: 37. A method according to claim 36, wherein the marijuana plant material is moved through the first vacuum chamber from an input end to an output end during step (c).; claim 38: 38. A method according to claim 36 or 37, wherein the pasteurized marijuana plant material is moved through the second vacuum chamber from an input end to an output end during step (e).; claim 39: 39. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 38, wherein the second pressure is in the range of 150 to 400 Torr.; claim 40: 40. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 38, wherein the second pressure is in the range of 180 to 300 Torr.; claim 41: 41 . A method according to any one of claims 35 to 39, wherein the second time period is in the range of 3 to 12 minutes.; claim 42: 42. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 39, wherein the second time period is in the range of 3 to 10 minutes.; claim 43: 43. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 39, wherein the second time period is in the range of 7 to 10 minutes.; claim 44: 44. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 43, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 60 to 95°C.; claim 45: 45. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 43, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 62 to 88°C.; claim 46: 46. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 43, wherein the pasteurizing temperature is in the range of 70 to 80°C, alternatively in the range of 65 to 80°C.; claim 47: 47. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 46, wherein the first pressure is in the range of 10 to 60 Torr.; claim 48: 48. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 46, wherein the first pressure is in the range of alternatively 20 to 60 Torr.; claim 49: 49. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 46, wherein the first pressure is in the range of 25 to 40 Torr.; claim 50: 50. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 49, wherein the first time period is in the range of 20 to 30 minutes.; claim 51: 51 . A method according to any one of claims 35 to 49, wherein the first time period is in the range of 22 to 27 minutes.; claim 52: 52. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 49, wherein the first time period is in the range of 15 to 25 minutes.; claim 53: 53. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 52, wherein the dehydrating temperature is in the range of 40 to 60°C.; claim 54: 54. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 53, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a moisture content in the range of 8 to 14 wt.%; claim 55: 55. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 54, wherein the method reduces bacterial numbers to a total plate count? 50,000 cfu/g, total yeast and mold < 500 cfu/g, and BTGN < 100 cfu/g.; claim 56: 56. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 54, wherein the method reduces bacterial numbers by at least 1.5 log.; claim 57: 57. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 56, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a total plate count of less than 270 cfu/g.; claim 58: 58. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 56, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a total plate count of less than 10 cfu/g.; claim 59: 59. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 58, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a yeast and mold count of less than 100 cfu/g.; claim 60: 60. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 58, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a yeast and mold count of less than less than 10 cfu/g.; claim 61: 61. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 59, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a BTGN of less than 00 cfu/g.; claim 62: 62. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 59, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a BTGN of less than 10 cfu/g.; claim 63: 63. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 62, wherein the method reduces terpene content of the marijuana plant material by not more than 35%.; claim 64: 64. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 63, wherein the method reduces THC content of the marijuana plant material by not more than 5%.; claim 65: 65. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 63, wherein the dehydrated and pasteurized marijuana plant material has a THC content equal to the THC content of the original marijuana plant material.; claim 66: 66. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 65, further comprising the step of covering the marijuana plant material with a microwave-transparent perforated cover during the second time period.; claim 67: 67. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 66, wherein the marijuana plant material comprises marijuana flower buds.; claim 68: 68. A method according to any one of claims 35 to 66, wherein the marijuana plant material comprises marijuana leaves or stems.; claim 69: 69. An apparatus (20) for pasteurizing and drying an organic material, comprising: (a) a first microwave-vacuum unit (22), comprising: (i) a first vacuum chamber (26) having an input end (28) for introduction of the organic material and an output end (30) for removal of the organic material; (ii) a first conveyor (32) for conveying the organic material from the input end to the output end; (iii) a first microwave source (34) arranged to irradiate microwave energy into the first vacuum chamber; (iv) a first vacuum source (36) for reducing pressure inside the first vacuum chamber to a first pressure below atmospheric; (b) a second microwave-vacuum unit (24) downstream of the first microwave- vacuum unit, comprising: (i) a second vacuum chamber (38) having an input end (40) for introduction of the organic material and an output end (42) for removal of the organic material; (ii) a second conveyor (44) for conveying the organic material from the input end to the output end; (iii) a second microwave source (46) arranged to irradiate microwave energy into the second vacuum chamber; (iv) a second vacuum source (48) for reducing pressure inside the second vacuum chamber to a second pressure different from the first pressure; and (c) a conveyor (50) for transferring the organic material from the output end of the first vacuum chamber to the input end of the second vacuum chamber.; claim 70: 70. An apparatus according to claim 69, wherein the conveyor (50) is at atmospheric pressure.; claim 71: 71. An apparatus according to claim 69, wherein the conveyor (50) is below atmospheric pressure.; claim 72: 72. An apparatus according to any one of claims 69 to 71 , wherein the first pressure is higher than the second pressure.; claim 73: 73. An apparatus according to any one of claims 69 to 71 , wherein the first pressure is lower than the second pressure.; claim 74: 74. An apparatus according to any one of claims 69 to 73, further comprising a microwave-transparent perforated cover adapted to cover the organic material.

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